"I was told I was not going to play. I didn't know the offense, I also hadn't been training and working out," Palmer told 95.7-FM on Wednesday. "So it was a complete shock to me at halftime when he told me, 'Hey, you know we're going to get you in, in the third quarter.'"
"He" is Raiders coach Hue Jackson, who turned to Palmer after an overwhelmed Kyle Boller threw three first-half interceptions against the Kansas City Chiefs. Palmer wasn't any better, throwing three picks himself during a 28-0 loss.
Asked what percentage of the playbook he knew entering the game, Palmer's answer spoke volumes about what he was facing in his debut.
"Oh man, I knew like about 15 plays and we ran the same 15 plays over and over again," he said.
Palmer didn't intimate Jackson had made a mistake, saying he'll never turn down a chance to play (unless, we'll interject, it's for the Bengals).
"I just said, 'All right, well that's what I'm here to do, I'm here to play football,'" he said. "I was very uncomfortable and obviously not ready or prepared but it's a game of unknowns, it's a game of having game plans when you go in and things change and my game plan was not play but I ended up playing."
Obviously, this was a boneheaded move by Jackson in hindsight, but it might have the unintended consequence of lowering expectations for Palmer in Oakland. For a player who hasn't posted an annual passer rating above 84 since the Bush administration, this is important.