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Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer releases a pass against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011 at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. The Broncos won, 38-24. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)

Scouting reports don't give Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer high marks for mobility.

Yet in the locker room, he flits about like Michael Vick.

One moment Palmer is answering questions from the media and fielding some good-natured barbs from teammate Khalif Barnes for drawing a crowd in front of his locker, never mind that he had already fulfilled his weekly obligation at the podium.

A short time later, Palmer is in an animated conversation with running back Michael Bush before checking in with tight end Kevin Boss. Next up is wide receiver Denarius Moore, whom Palmer has made a project of sorts.

Immersing himself in a new offensive system was only part of Palmer's mission once he was acquired by trade from the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 18.

It was also crucial for Palmer to quickly seize a leadership role that Jason Campbell had worked hard to fill after the 2010 season. Palmer makes the 100th start of his career Sunday in Minnesota having accomplished that and more.

"Whoever is calling plays in the huddle is who you're naturally going to look to, and Jason did a great job," Palmer said. "He came in and led this team to a very fast start and played very well. You don't want to come in and step on anyone's toes, but if you're the quarterback, there's a certain aspect of the leadership role you have to take on.

"I came in and acted like myself."


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Palmer doesn't have the confrontational edge of former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, who once hid all the balls to the pool table in the rec room so players would open their playbooks. But he has been forward, positive and outgoing while displaying a dry sense of humor with teammates.

"He can prod you with a bit of humor, but if he needs to get on you and something is important he'll have us do it again or stress that it's important," Barnes said. "He's all about getting his business done and his work done, but also having time to play, too."

It has helped the transition that Campbell has been philosophical rather than bitter, stepping aside gracefully while his broken right collarbone heals.

"You can't worry about what goes on in the business side of things," Campbell said.

Campbell goes to quarterback meetings but generally stays out of the locker room while Palmer is building relationships. It's a much different dynamic from a year ago, when Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski were vying to be the starter.

It took Campbell an offseason interrupted by a lockout and a full training camp to become the leader coach Hue Jackson expected.

It's taken Palmer less than a month.

After last week's 24-17 win over San Diego, Bush raved about Palmer's ability to network.

"He was always asking you things, seeing how you were doing, talking to everybody, being a leader," Bush said. "That's something that we needed."

Palmer instantly noticed Moore's stunning physical gifts and challenged him to maximize them.

"He came in, asked me questions about life, what it takes to be a good wide receiver, then asked me if I was willing to take advantage of that opportunity," Moore said. "I said yes and took it upon myself to spend some extra time with him, working out, and we started to develop some chemistry."

After Moore's five-catch, 123-yard game against San Diego, Palmer had another message.

"There were guys that had good games and were recognized for their individual efforts, but if you're a young guy, a rookie like Denarius, you've got to move on and get ready for next week," Palmer said. "What you did last week really doesn't matter."

Jackson, who has known Palmer since Jackson was an assistant coach at USC, watches Palmer work the room and can't resist a premature "I told you so," jabbing critics of the deal who thought a first-round pick and a second-round pick that could become a first-rounder was too high of a price to pay for a quarterback who turns 32 in December.

"Everybody has their opinion, and I get that," Jackson said. "All those characteristics that you guys have seen in him is why he's here. This guy just has it. He has that 'it' quality that he wants to be good at what he does and he expects his teammates to follow him."