Marcio Jose Sanchez Associated Press Quarterback Carson Palmer throws during practice this week. He is now in charge of a Raiders offense that often has him moving out of the pocket, something he said he is looking forward to.

New-look Raiders optimistic they'll develop successful offense

Published: Friday, Jun. 15, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Monday, Jun. 18, 2012 - 9:52 am

ALAMEDA – Much of his scheme is in place. He has seen his playmaking pieces in motion. And asked what he expects from the new-look Raiders' offense after the team's minicamp ended Thursday, coordinator Greg Knapp sounded optimistic, if a bit cautious.

"I expect us to be a very successful offense, but it's going to take time," said Knapp, back for his second run at the job after a prior stint with the Raiders from 2007-08. "I've got to be patient and understanding. I want us to be balanced. I want a defensive coordinator on the other side of the field to know that we can run the ball efficiently or throw for explosive gains efficiently."

The Raiders have spent this offseason of change adapting to new schemes on both sides of the ball. Knapp said he has introduced about 90 percent of his playbook to the offense, and he's pleased with players' progress grasping it.

Now Knapp hopes they'll retain it over the next six weeks until the Raiders report to training camp in Napa on July 29. Coaches are not allowed to discuss football with players until then, and many players are expected to leave the area.

"There's going to be another growing curve when we start playing preseason games, and there's going to have to be another growing curve during the regular season because the speed of games goes so much faster," Knapp said. "But I was very pleased with what I saw at the beginning of OTAs (organized team activities) and how we finished."

With plenty of young players at wide receiver and tight end, Knapp said, it has helped to have a veteran like Carson Palmer at quarterback to ease the transition. Palmer has been "a little bit of a crutch for me to lean on" because of his patience and willingness to work with younger players, Knapp said.

Palmer is learning as well. Embroiled at this time last year in a contract dispute with the Cincinnati Bengals, Palmer, 32, is now in charge of an offense that often has him moving out of the pocket – something he said he is looking forward to.

"There's really no similarities to anything I've done before, but I love all the boots and play-actions and all the naked (bootlegs) and keepers," Palmer said. "I'm excited to do that and, really, those are things that are going to help the run game."

The Raiders are adopting a zone running scheme while experiencing shifting on the offensive line. Cooper Carlisle has moved from right to left guard to make room for free-agent acquisition Mike Brisiel, with Stefen Wisniewski expected to slide to center.

Wisniewski, though, has not participated in any of the team's offseason workouts while recovering from shoulder surgery. And that's a concern, Knapp said.

"Whenever you change the front five parts, one way or the other, there's a lot of communication that has to be learned through the heat of battle," Knapp said. "So we're going to need to get a lot of reps in training camp with him in there."

Palmer said Thursday he plans to take the next six weeks to review nuances of the playbook such as protections, two-minute situations and his responsibilities in the run game, because Knapp "fired everything at us" during OTAs and minicamp.

Knapp said that was intentional with less practice time allotted under new league offseason workout rules.

"I made sure they understood that the expectation is you learn it now, don't wait until (training camp)," he said. "I hope they felt my urgency in my voice and the way I coached on the field."

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Read more articles by Matt Kawahara



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