By Danny Cox
In the opening game of the 2012 season for the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, the latter ended up making the most of mistakes instead of committing them. Oakland kept things close, but screwed up three punts throughout the night and pretty much gave the 22-14 victory to the Chargers.
The season really hasn’t gotten much better for the Raiders from there, but they did have the highlight of beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in week three. A six-game losing streak in the middle of the season completely took even the smallest amount of wind out of their sales and had in the midst of another losing season.
That six-game losing streak couldn’t have come at a worse time though, because the Raiders were 3-4 at that point and on a two-game winning streak. Since that winning streak ended, Oakland has only defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, but hope they can do something to end the season on a high note.
If they’re going to do that though, they will have to do it without starting quarterback Carson Palmer.
Palmer suffered cracked ribs and a bruised lung in this past Sunday’s 17-6 loss to the Carolina Panthers. It’s not like there isn’t a lack of talent that could start in Palmer’s place. The only problem is that the talent was more so in college than in the pros.
So who will the Raiders start – Matt Leinart or Terrelle Pryor?
Both quarterbacks shared first-team reps during Wednesday’s practice, and it is still up in the air as to who will start against the Chargers.
“We got a chance to see what Matt could do and we might need to see a little bit more of Terrelle,” coach Dennis Allen said. “They’re two totally different quarterbacks. Terrelle obviously is an athletic quarterback that can really do some things on the move. Matt’s a little bit more your prototypical pocket passer. So when you look at those guys you’ve got to take into account those skill sets and what they do well.
“We’ll continue to monitor it and we’ll make a decision at the end of the week which way we’re going to go.”
Having Palmer out could significantly alter the game plan of the Raiders. Oakland has the eighth best passing offense in the league, but that kind of accomplishment isn’t likely going to come with one of the two back-ups. With that being said, the Raiders will probably turn to Darren McFadden and the running game.
The big problem there is that Oakland has the 29th-ranked rushing offense in the entire NFL. With only 650 yards on a 3.3 average this season, it isn’t like McFadden is really running away with things.
On the defensive side of things, the Raiders may be in even more trouble.
Oakland is sporting the 22nd ranked passing defense and 20th ranked rushing defense. That may not seem all that bad though because the Chargers are still dealing with multiple injuries on offense. The bulk of those coming along the offensive line that has the job of protecting Philip Rivers.
If the Raiders are hoping to finish the 2012 NFL season with some kind of positive word, then they are going to have to hope that their defense can contain the injury-riddled San Diego offense. Even more so, the Raiders have to hope that the right decision is made as to who starts at quarterback.
For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Chargers news, see CBS Sports Los Angeles.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.