Palmer hospitalized in Bay Area, out for Chargers game


Starting quarterback Carson Palmer spent the night in a local hospital as a result of the broken ribs and bruised lung he suffered from a helmet-to-back hit against the Carolina Panthers.
Coach Dennis Allen said Palmer will not play Sunday in Oakland’s regular-season finale against the San Diego Chargers.
Palmer was taken to Eden Medical Center as soon as the Raiders landed in Oakland on Sunday night, where he spent the night under observation. He was released Monday afternoon.
Veteran Matt Leinart and second-year player Terrelle Pryor will be considered for the starting job against the Chargers, Allen said. Leinart relieved Palmer against the Panthers. Pryor played three snaps.
“Our plan right now is to work both of them this week,” Allen said, “and then we’ll see how practice goes. Later in the week, we’ll be ready to name a starter.”
Allen said the Raiders will not sign another quarterback between now and Sunday’s game. Therefore, punter Shane Lechler will be the No. 3 quarterback.
Palmer on Sunday got drilled from behind by Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy as he prepared to throw a pass from the right side of the field late in the first quarter.
Hardy was penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer on the play. Palmer stayed down for several minutes, while being tended to by team athletic trainers.
Palmer started the first 15 games this season and passed for 4,018 yards, with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He joined Rich Gannon as the only players to pass for 4,000 yards or more in a season.
Allen called Pryor “a work in progress,” adding that Pryor works hard in practice and is making strides toward earning more playing time. On Sunday, Allen said Pryor isn’t ready to be the backup just yet.
On Monday, Allen added: “I don’t know that he’s got full command of everything that we’re doing. But I wouldn’t expect a lot different out of any other young quarterback. He’s got to continue to work, and he’s done a nice job.”
Allen gave players the day off Monday. Therefore, Pryor and others weren’t available for comment.

— The incident from Sunday’s game in which Panthers quarterback Cam Newton bumped referee Jerome Boger is being reviewed by the league office.
Newton took umbrage with the way he was tackled by Raiders safety Mike Mitchell and yelled at Boger. In the process, Newton bumped Boger.
Boger penalized Newton for “disrespectfully addressing” an official. He added that Newton’s contact with him was not of “malicious nature.” Newton apologized to Boger after the game.

— The Raiders are assured of finishing in third place in the AFC West, regardless how they fare against the Chargers.
Therefore, they now know that they will play a third-place schedule in 2013, which means they host the third-place team from the AFC North (Pittsburgh Steelers) and play on the road against the third-place team from the AFC East (Miami Dolphins or New York Jets).
Their 14 other games are: Denver Broncos, Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, home and away; Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins at home; Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants on the road.

— The Chiefs and Jaguars will pick first and second in the 2013 NFL draft. The Raiders are one of three teams at 4-11. The Raiders would pick third if they wind up tied with the Eagles and Lions, the two other 4-11 teams right now, based on a weaker strength-of-schedule.
It’s conceivable that the Raiders could wind up as one of seven teams in a tie at 5-10. If so, it’s likely that they still would get the No. 3 pick.

— The Raiders allowed 419 points through their first 15 games. They need to hold the Chargers to 13 or fewer if they are to better last season’s total.
The 1961 Raiders allowed the most points in a season, when they surrendered 458. Worse, that came in a 14-game season.

— Strong safety Tyvon Branch (ankle), cornerback Phillip Adams (groin) and right guard Mike Brisiel (concussion) emerged from the Panthers game at less than full strength. They are questionable for the Chargers game.

— Allen declined to assess the performance of offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.
“I don’t think this is the time,” Allen said. “We do have one game left. There will be time to assess all aspects of the organization, coaching staff included. We’ll do that at some point after the season.”


Grading the Raiders off Panthers game


Beat writer Jerry McDonald graded the Raiders off their 17-6 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Here are McDonald’s grades and comments:

Pass offense

Downfield passing was non-existent as Matt Leinart needed 16 completions (in 32 attempts) to gain 115 yards with no gain longer than 20. Terrelle Pryor’s 22-yard reception from Carson Palmer on a trick play screen was the longest pass play of the game. Leinart’s interception to Luke Kuechly near the end of the first half led to Carolina’s second touchdown.

Grade: D-minus

Rush offense

So much for the Raiders’ resurgent run game. A recent run of average to above-average performances gave way to 47 yards on 22 carries. Running back Darren McFadden (33 yards, 17 carries) had one 13-yard gain and the lone rushing first down. Other than that, he was running head-on into tackles, gaining 20 yards on 16 caries.

Grade: F

Pass defense

Even with starters Tyvon Branch (foot) and Phillip Adams (groin) out, the Raiders held Cam Newton reasonably in check. He was 18-for-29 for 170 yards, and grew frustrated by getting hit by a decent pass rush. Linebacker Miles Burris had an interception off a Philip Wheeler deflection. The Raiders offense failed to cash in with points.

Grade: B

Rush defense

The Raiders were diligent at staying disciplined in the read option with regard to the quarterback run or the pitch. Newton had 60 yards on 12 carries (including three kneel downs) but the bulk of his yardage came on one 29-yard scramble. DeAngelo Williams, other than 14 yards on one option pitch, had 5 yards on 10 carries.
Grade: B

Special teams

Shane Lechler pinned the Panthers inside the 20-yard line four times. Chimdi Chekwa forced a fumble on a punt return, recovered by Richard Gordon, but the offense could not convert into a touchdown. An “A” effort other than doing no damage in the return game. The Raiders’ coverage units didn’t allow Carolina to do any damage with their returns, however.

Grade: B-plus


Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp had to adjust quickly when Carson Palmer was knocked out of the game. Whatever adjustments were made failed. Coach Dennis Allen opted to go for a first down on fourth-and-4 deep in Carolina territory with 5:09 to go, treating it as a one-score game even though his kicker is Sebastian Janikowski. Leinart threw incomplete. Defensive plan and execution was solid.

Grade: D-plus