There have been so many conflicting “reports” about who the Raiders will start at quarterback this weekend it is well past ridiculous. There were even reports that Hue Jackson would reveal the starter on Friday though he never said any such thing. In the end, as expected, Jackson scoffed at the thought of letting the cat out of the bag. He knows the unknown is his best weapon versus the Chiefs this Sunday.
On Tuesday morning, when the Raiders swung the blockbuster deal that brought Carson Palmer to Oakland and sent a 2012 first round pick and a 2013 conditional first round pick to Cincinnati, the media frenzy shifted into overdrive.
Suddenly there were more cameras and media at Raider headquarters than there had been all season, every one of them eager to know if the Raiders’ new coach would continue his “living on the edge” style and start his new franchise quarterback just five days later against the Chiefs.
Hue claimed at the press conference and in the days following that he had no idea who he would choose as his starting signal caller on Sunday. That may well have been the case early in the week, but now he knows and he still isn’t talking.
The last practice was today and he saw all he needed to see from Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer to know with whom he would feel most comfortable. But it doesn’t do the Raiders any good to reveal that now. It gives them a great advantage for the Chiefs and everyone else to be completely clueless. It forces the Chiefs to gameplan for two very different quarterbacks.
The jovial Jackson seems to enjoy all the attention that he and the Raiders are getting lately. But now he appears to be getting a bit cagey. He was asked why he would not reveal his starter yet, to which he gave a deep glare at the reporter asking the question and responded, “‘Cause I can. You guys all want to know. Is somebody going to pay me or something?
“I’ll make the right decision for our football team as we draw closer to the game. I’m not in a rush. I’m going to watch this tape, watch the practice tape, sit down, meet with my staff, talk to upper management, Amy Trask and Mark Davis, and then make the right decision.”
At this point, we are left to try and read into the way he says things. The feeling I get is that it will be Kyle Boller who gets the start. But I don’t think it will end there. Hue suggested that it may be a group effort out there on Sunday.
“Obviously somebody’s gotta trot out there first and that’s what we’ll do when the time comes.”
When Hue was asked if we could see more than one quarterback on the field on Sunday, he left the door wide open for that possibility.
“Never know,” said Jackson with a smile. “You never know. We have all kinds of stuff that we do here, so it depends on how good I’m feeling come Sunday. But anybody can walk out there first and take the first snap.”
Jackson has also been quick to add Terrelle Pryor to any conversation regarding who may start for the team on Sunday or even who may play at all. This leads me to believe that Pryor could very well see a few snaps as well as the Raiders continue to incorporate trick plays and utilize all of their weapons. However, any suggestion that he puts out there that Pryor has as much of a chance to start as Boller or Palmer is not one that is taken seriously.
Every statement he made in the last couple days has had an element of smokescreen to it. Granted there may also be some legitimate concerns on his part that lead him to hold off on his decision. But it’s Friday. Practice is done for the week. There is little else for him to see at this point.
If I were a betting man, my guess would be Kyle Boller trots out as the starter. After that, he will be given a chance to see if he can lead this team down the field and if he makes a mistake, Palmer will replace him. OR Boller will start and receive a predetermined amount of playing time before being replaced by Palmer. I also see Pryor getting in the game once or twice to mix things up.
The Chiefs don’t have the luxury to guesswork, whether educated or not. They must prepare to face Palmer, Boller, and even Pryor. So Hue has them just where he wants them.