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Taking the right angle

Posted May 9, 2012

QB Jordan Palmer: "This organization is heading in a great direction."

Jordan Palmer is excited. And yeah, while it makes sense he’d be that way after being out of the NFL last season, he’s excited about more than just having an opportunity.

He’s excited about being around the Jaguars, in particular.

He’s excited about Bob Bratkowski.  And Greg Olson.

Mostly, Palmer said he’s excited about Mike Mularkey and the feeling he got in Jacksonville last weekend. Palmer has been around a lot of football, and he said it’s easy to see a head coach with the right approach, the right demeanor, the right mindset.

Mularkey has all of that, Palmer said.

And you don’t need to be around him for weeks on end to know it.

“He does everything the right way, from the top down,” Palmer, who signed as the Jaguars’ third quarterback early this week, said. “He’s up front, honest and tells you exactly what he wants. He wants great effort, great energy. He wants great enthusiasm. He creates leadership. If your head coach is hanging his hat on those principles, all that trickles down.

“Not every organization is run that way. I think that’s going to inspire a bunch of wins.”

Palmer’s goal now? Be a part of what Mularkey and the Jaguars are doing, however possible.

He knows that likely won’t be as a starter. Or even as a backup. But he said he’s fine with that, and that attitude as much as anything might be what he brings to the Jaguars right now.

“I’ve always hung my hat on finding ways to contribute and add value to the team,” he said. “I’m excited to get in there and find ways to be able to do that.”

Palmer said his personal experience brings value. He knows first-hand NFL quarterbacking isn’t easy, that it requires learning, working and overcoming adversity.

A 2007 sixth-round selection by Washington from Texas-El Paso, he spent time with the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena League before playing three seasons with Cincinnati, from 2008-2010. He backed up his brother, Carson Palmer, with the Bengals, but while he played in four games, he never started and completed 10 of 15 passes for 59 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions.

The Bengals released him last August and he was out of the NFL before earning a spot on the Jaguars’ 90-man roster this past weekend during a three-day rookie mini-camp at EverBank Field.

But Palmer said he knows another side of quarterbacking, too. Carson, now with Oakland, not only was the starter in Cincinnati, he was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2003 NFL Draft and a Pro Bowl selection 2005 and 2006.

As Jordan sees it, his relationship with his brother makes him more than a famous quarterback’s brother. It also gives him a “unique perspective on the quarterback position.”

“I know what it’s like to claw your way into the league as a sixth-round draft pick, to be bottom of the rung, get cut and have to make a 90-man roster because of a rookie mini-camp workout,” he said. “I also know what it’s like to be on the other end. I know what it’s like to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Heisman Trophy winner, the top dog and in the Pro Bowl. I’ve been very close to that the last 10 years with my brother. Having both sides of the spectrum covered, I think that’s an advantage.

“The lessons I’ve learned from that, I want to find a way to contribute that to the team.”

Not that Palmer is only about being the wise voice of experience.

Like any quarterback, he wants to play, and that’s what made this past weekend memorable, and enjoyable. Working in the Jaguars’ mini-camp, there were no veterans or established quarterbacks, and with rookie Josh McGregor and first-year player Jarrett Brown the only other quarterbacks, Palmer received most of the reps.

“I’ve been in the NFL for a few years, but I haven’t been getting all the reps for a few years,” he said. “I had a blast.”

Palmer knows with Blaine Gabbert starting and Chad Henne backing him up, that won’t carry forward, but he said that’s fine, and he said the chance to work with Mularkey and reunite with Bratkowski isn’t the only positive. Olson is entering his first season as Jaguars quarterbacks coach, and Palmer said his reputation is well-known among quarterbacks.

“I’ve gotten texts from five guys around the league who have worked with him,” Palmer said. “They said, ‘You’re lucky. He’s awesome.’ We’re going to have some receivers running open and some huge holes for running backs to run through with those three guys at the helm.”

“Offensively, the minds in that room – there’s just so much experience. This team is going to score a lot of points and win a lot of games.”

Exactly Palmer’s role remains to be seen, and he knows, too, it’s not certain he will have a role. With Gabbert starting and Henne having signed as a free-agent in the off-season, the Jaguars likely will need to carry three quarterbacks for Palmer to make the team.

That’s means no guarantee, but Palmer said for now, guarantees aren’t necessary.

What’s necessary is an opportunity, and as he sees it, considering all that’s going on with the Jaguars, this is as good place to get an opportunity as any.

“I’m coming in from a great angle,” he said. “I’m not coming in to step on anybody’s toes. I’m coming in to compete and make the guys around me better. I’m not a 10-year veteran, but there is some stuff I’ve seen. I think this organization is heading in a great direction and I’m excited to be a part of it.”


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