NAPA -- It was a routine third-and-6 play Tuesday during a non-contact 7-on-7 drill, but it might serve as a glimpse of the future for Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer.
With his receivers covered, Palmer broke to his right, turned the corner and made it past the first-down stake before stepping out of bounds.
The Raiders traded a first-round draft pick in 2012 and a second-round selection in 2013 for Palmer on Oct. 18 at the behest of then-coach Hue Jackson for reasons that had nothing to do with evasive action.
If people think Palmer is slow, it's fine by him.
"If somebody hears you can't run, they take bad angles, and you get around corners," Palmer said. "I've played with receivers that loved to be thought of as slow guys because, before you know it, they run by you.''
One of the big changes at Raiders camp this season is the transformation of Palmer from a classic drop-back, downfield passer into a nimble operator of bootlegs and rollouts.
So far, so good.
Visual evidence suggests the drop-back pass still is part of the plan as a way to maximize a throwing arm that probably is the best the franchise has seen since Jeff George in 1997.
But the rollouts and bootlegs came with more frequency Tuesday. As much as Palmer worked on his conditioning and footwork in the offseason, that part of his game has been mostly dormant since he was the quarterback at USC.
Since then, he has had reconstructive knee
Once Palmer talked with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and took a look at the Houston Texans offense, which is similar to the one the Raiders will operate, he got to work on his footwork.
He'll need to sell both misdirection runs and out-of-the-pocket pass plays with his footwork and ball skills before it even gets to the point of throwing the ball. Toward that end, he spent hours working on both in the offseason.
"The defenders' eyes get lost so much in this offense that you don't need to run a 4.4 (40-yard dash) to get around corners," Palmer said. "If you execute it with the right technique and all those small things, then the offense takes care of not having a quarterback that runs (fast).''
Raiders coach Dennis Allen thinks Palmer has what it takes to succeed in a quarterback-driven league.
"He's been exceptional," Allen said. "He's got a nice command of the offense, and he's doing a good job running it."
The Palmer conversion has been met with some skepticism, branded as a pure panic move after Jason Campbell went out for the season with a broken collarbone.
Although he showed
Matt Leinart, who played in Houston last season and with Palmer at USC, thinks the system suits Palmer the same way it did Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.
"Everyone knows Carson can drop back and throw the ball, but he's also very smart and more athletic than people give him credit for," Leinart said. "I told him he's going to love this offense, and he does.''
Still out and day to day are linebacker Aaron Curry (knee), cornerback Ron Bartell (hamstring), punter Shane Lechler (knee) and defensive tackle Travis Ivey (conditioning).
Allen said of Lechler's injury, "I'm not real concerned about it," although he gave no time frame on the punter's return.
"The heat got to us a little bit, and we had to kind of regroup ourselves, but I thought we finished up pretty strong,'' Allen said.
"We'll put the pads on, mix it up a little bit, and we'll find out who's going to compete," Allen said.