ALAMEDA -- With no definitive word on injured running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, the Raiders are considering expanding the roles of Taiwan Jones and fullback Marcel Reece.
Or they could just do what they've done for the first eight games of the season and let Carson do it.
"Whether it's running it 50 times or throwing it 50 times, we've got to do what we feel gives us the best opportunity for success," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said.
Even with healthy running backs, execution and game circumstance have made quarterback Carson Palmer the Raiders' most indispensable player.
Whatever roles Jones and Reece have in the backfield Sunday, any chance the Raiders have of beating the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens on the road rest with Palmer doing what he does best against a team he beat nine times in 13 starts as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I don't fear any quarterback, but I'm always worried when I play Carson Palmer," Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said Wednesday by conference call. "We came from the same draft class. We played him at USC when I was at Arizona State, so this guy's kind of tortured me through all my college and professional career."
With McFadden struggling even when healthy, the Raiders have become a pass-first team through necessity.
Palmer has 2,355 yards passing at the midway point of the season, a pace that would give him a franchise record of 4,710 yards over 16 games. That's more than Rich Gannon's 4,689 yards in 2002, the year he won the Most Valuable Player award.
With 13 touchdown passes at the midway point, Palmer is on pace for Gannon's 26 touchdown passes as well.
And while Palmer has been adept at bringing the Raiders from behind, as he did against Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay, the Falcons and Bucs games also had costly interceptions.
Against the Bucs, Palmer had the Raiders within 35-32 after trailing 28-10 and 35-17 but threw an interception to Ahmad Black that appeared to be headed toward receiver Denarius Moore.
There were some communication issues on more than one occasion with a youthful receiving corps, but Palmer has no intention of passing off responsibility for mistakes.
"When you play quarterback, you're the one with the ball in your hand," Palmer said. "You've got to make the right decision and make sure you're on the right page with everybody."
Allen found himself defending Palmer at his Monday news conference, and some on the radical fringe of the Raiders fan base would like to see No. 3 quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who has been inactive for the first eight weeks.
"I'm not going to sit here and put the blame on Carson Palmer," Allen said. "I think he's operated exceptionally well for us. He's one of the big reasons we've been able to win the games we've been able to win. He's a huge part of our offense.
"He feels as bad as anybody about the negative plays he had in the game."
Allen will lean on Palmer's history of success against Baltimore, which includes a 4-3 record at M&T Bank Stadium.
"He knows this team. He's played against them for a long time," Allen said. "I think he fully understands what kind of game it's going to be."
Based on Palmer's experience, the Raiders will need to play their best game of the season to win.
"You have to play great. You can't play OK and win," Palmer said. "You have to put together four quarters and put together a complete game if you want to get out of there with a win, and it's difficult to do there."