When the Oakland Raiders gave up a first-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in the middle of the 2011 season to acquire Carson Palmer, the move was made with a “win now” mentality as the team believed he was the best option to help the team earn the AFC West title and possibly a Super Bowl birth.
Instead, the Raiders pulled off one of the biggest flops in the final half of the regular season as they finished with an 8-8 record–which is extremely disappointing considering their 7-4 start.
It’s difficult not to blame Palmer for how the 2011 season turned out for Oakland as the former No. 1 pick struggled in the 10 games he played in after throwing for 2,753 yards to go along with just 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Considering their hot start along with playing in one of the weakest divisions the NFL has to offer in the AFC West, there’s absolutely no reason why the Raiders shouldn’t have won the division title over the Denver Broncos–none.
The argument can be made that Palmer wasn’t in the best of shape when he joined Oakland since he was “retired” for the first six games of the season. Now that he’s heading into 2012 with a full offseason of training under his belt with the Raiders, there’s no excuse for Palmer to do anything but perform well this upcoming season.