ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -- Carson Palmer could be in for another busy day for the Oakland Raiders.
With top two running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson slowed this week by sprained right ankles, the Raiders may need to rely on their passing game when they visit the Baltimore Ravens.
Palmer threw the ball 61 times last week against Tampa Bay as the Raiders (3-5) were forced to play catch-up in the second half after losing McFadden and Goodson to the injuries. Neither back practiced Wednesday and their status remains in doubt for Sunday's game against the Ravens (6-2).
''We've got a plan in place if either or both of those guys are not able to play,'' coach Dennis Allen said.
That likely will involve lots of passing with no other proven halfback on the roster. Palmer set a career high in attempts in last week's 42-32 loss to Tampa Bay, completing 39 passes for 414 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
With McFadden out for the entire second half, Goodson getting hurt in the fourth quarter and Oakland falling behind by 18 points, the Raiders ran the ball just three times in the second half - their fewest in eight years.
''You got to adjust to what your health is of your team, but you know it's a team that's had some yards rushing on them, especially the last couple of weeks,'' Palmer said. ''It's very odd. I have never seen that before in my career. So, there are some things we want to take advantage of in the run game.
Former NFL Veteran and Iowa standout Matt Bowen told me this week that the ultimate compliment any football player can receive from a fellow player or coach is to be called “tough”. I find that to be concrete truth. In my opinion, one of the next best things a player can be labeled as is “versatile”.
Although he’s not a household name just yet, Oakland’s Jack-Of-All-Trades Marcel Reece is on track to catch the label of “tough” and “versatile” from teammates, opponents, and coaches throughout the NFL. He made the Pro Bowl last season, and yet many fans across the country have never heard of him. He wears many hats for the Raiders, and for the second straight week he’ll be in the role of starting Running back against the New Orleans Saints.
He’s already being compared to guys like Keith Byars and Larry Centers for his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, carry it with effectiveness, and to be a solid pass protector as well. Centers played 14 seasons in the NFL, and had over 1,400 carries and catches as a Fullback and Runningback. He was also a perennial Pro Bowler due to his versatility. Byars played 13 seasons in the NFL, and had over 1,400 carries and catches as a Fullback and Tightend. He also threw 6 touchdown passes in his career.
The Raiders fell short of Amazing last week, almost pulling through on a comeback, in which, they were down 18 at beginning of 4th quarter. Carson Palmer threw 3TD passes, in just the fourth qtr. alone. This Raiders team is gellin right now, and if they get going, we will see some high scores.
Look for Baltimore (6-2) to make a statement early on in this game, but watch Ray Lewis, Be a emmotional player as always. We know the Ravens will take the hit. Both QBs have been liberal with the ball as of late, what we use to call butterfingers. Carson has a QB rating of 85.6, while Flacco on the other hand has an 85.0 passer rating. I think the Raiders will show their beast Marcel Reece. He will show up big today and bring the Raiders to Victory!
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH: Marcel Reece and Denarius Moore