No one's going to blame Carson Palmer for being optimistic.
Palmer was brought to Oakland to help the Raiders regain their seat in the playoffs, a place they haven't been since George W. Bush's first term in office. Palmer failed at that task last season, an 8-8 disappointment that led some to second-guess if the QB was worth the steep price tag it cost to acquire him from the Bengals last October.
But Palmer remains confident the Raiders can skip the walk part and go straight from a crawl to a run.
"There's a lot of work that needs to be put in, and a lot of hurdles that need to get over," Palmer said Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "But I think we need to be heading into this season thinking more than just playoffs, and trying to get to the playoffs, or trying to win the AFC West, so I think it's bigger than that.
"We definitely have a lot of pieces to the puzzle to be more than just a playoff team."
Palmer certainly thinks the world of the Raiders' roster, but it's fair to question why. It starts with Palmer, who threw 16 interceptions in 10 games, deftly playing the part of a mistake-prone, mid-tier quarterback. Running back Darren McFadden has the talent that franchises are built around ... but he's a walking M.A.S.H. unit.
Then there's that defense. The Raiders ranked in the bottom four of the NFL in points allowed per game, yards allowed per game, first downs, opponent three-and-out percentage and plays of 20-plus yards. Yuck.
Throw in that Oakland is starting over (again) with a new coaching regime and, of course, all those blasted penalties, and you have to wonder if Palmer is looking at the same roster as the rest of us.
Again, it's OK to be optimistic. But let's not book those flights to New Orleans just yet.