from Jerry McDonald:
The first hookup was in 1999, when Jeff Garcia came to Alameda for a tryout and was so unimpressive the Raiders instead signed Andre Ware.
Garcia said he really didn’t blame Jon Gruden, because he wasn’t at his best during the workout. Besides, Garcia’s game has always been about the kind of creativity that isn’t on display in a series of out patterns to receivers he doesn’t know.
The next time was in the months leading up to the 2007 draft, with Lane Kiffin attempting to sell Garcia on the notion of being the Raiders starting quarterback, although it would be a temporary position assuming the Raiders drafted JaMarcus Russell.
The Raiders have no plans to make Garcia available to the media, which isn’t surprising since big-ticket signees such as Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler weren’t made available either.
Although there was an ESPN report Garcia would be competing for the starting job, the notion is ludicrous at the outset. If that’s the case, then Russell must be fast approaching the 300-pound limit he allegedly (falsely, as it turned out) he flirted with last year and have an entourage number six or more.
Garcia is in Oakland because he’s 39 years old, it’s in the Bay Area, and he won’t find a job as a starter. Garcia told the Bay Area media by conference call last year _ he high-jacked the call from Derrick Brooks, insisting that he be the one to speak to `hometown’ reporters _ the end was nearing on his career, but that he still considered himself an NFL starter.
There is much Garcia can teach Russell about preparation and work ethic. Garcia is never out of shape and fought his way through San Jose State, the Canadian Football League as well as eventual rejection by San Francisco, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia and finally Tampa Bay.
Russell has known nothing but being the big man on campus in Mobile, Ala., at LSU, and with the Raiders. If he is interested in watching closely, he can pick up some valuable insight. It will be up to Russell, just as it has been since he arrived, to determine how good he wants to be.
When Garcia is good, he is amazing. In an overtime win over the Raiders in 2002, Garcia played about as good a game as I’ve seen a quarterback play against the Raiders, decisively out-dueling Rich Gannon.
When Garcia is bad and out of rhythm, few quarterbacks look worse. I’ve written him off more than a few times after poor games, and been wrong every time.
In terms of style, the Russell and Garcia are nothing alike, and that’s not a bad thing. You really don’t want your backup to be a clone of the starter, because then you’re running the same plays, in the same order, with an inferior quarterback.
You’d rather have the backup be a change-of-pace, giving the defense something different to look at. Ken Stabler was nothing like Daryle Lamonica, attacking mid-range rather than deep. The first backup to win the Super Bowl, Jeff Hostetler, got outside the pocket and made things happen, in contrast to dropback passer Phil Simms.
I floated the idea of signing Michael Vick under certain conditions the other day, something the Raiders probably never considered. They’ve been playing it safe and smart, having been burned by being too bold last year.
Garcia is the safe, smart choice.
You really only need to think about it for split second.
Should Russell be injured, do you want Jeff Garcia, Andrew Walter or Bruce Gradkowski?