Last week Rich Gannon turned down the job of Raiders quarterback coach under Jon Gruden. Now another of Gruden’s former quarterbacks who spent some time with the Raiders has shown interest in becoming the quarterback coach in Oakland — Jeff Garcia.
The former 12-year NFL quarterback started 24 games for Gruden between 2007-08. He made the Pro Bowl in 2007 as the quarterback of the Bucs and he was the starting quarterback for Gruden’s final game as an NFL head coach in 2008 — a game the Bucs lost to the Raiders.
The following offseason and training camp Garcia spent with the Raiders, but didn’t make the regular season roster. Now the Gilroy native and San Jose State alum is looking to return to Oakland as a coach.
Monday morning Garcia appeared on Bay Area radio station 95.7 The Game, where he revealed he has informed Gruden of his interest in being the Raiders’ quarterbacks coach.
“I’ve reached out to Jon, I’ve expressed that I’m interested in being an assistant of some sort. That I would love to be involved in the game. Greg Olson is a good friend of mine. We’ve crossed paths, we’ve been together multiple times throughout my NFL career in different places and I have a great friendship/relationship with him off the field.”
The connection with Olson comes from that 2008 season when he was the Offensive Coordinator in Tampa. Assistant Head Coach Rich Bisaccia was also part of that team. Garcia would seem to fit right into the ‘getting the old band back together’ mindset Gruden has had since taking the Raiders head job last week.
“If there was ever a time where really you’d think the relationships can lead to a potential opportunity, maybe it would be now,” Garcia continued. “But that’s a decision for Jon to make and for them to make moving forward as to what they want to do with that quarterback position.”
One of the major questions since Gannon let it be known he would not take the QB coach job was if the Raiders would be bringing in anyone to fill that position at all. Having worked with Gruden, Garcia noted how “hands-on” the old ball coach can be, especially with regard to quarterbacks. Add to that the presence of former quarterback coach Greg Olson and it may be a situation where a QB would just be too many cooks in the kitchen.
“You don’t normally get this from your head coach, but that’s him,” Garcia said of Gruden. “He’s sitting in the quarterback room, he’s leading the quarterback room, he’s leading the film. So, it’s really about how many guys he wants to have in that quarterback room and what the importance or what the role would be for that quarterback coach.”
Like Gannon, it was a long road for Garcia to prove himself as an NFL quarterback. He spent five years in the CFL before the 49ers signed him and he ended up being the starter in San Francisco for five seasons while heading to three Pro Bowls. He was what they like to call gritty. Cut from the same cloth as the Rich Gannons of the world. Both seemingly destined to eventually pass their knowledge on as a coach.
“I’ve always expressed interest in coaching,” said Garcia. “I think it’s a natural path for me. It’s a natural transition, I’m sitting here as a retired athlete who really loves the game and is passionate about the game who has a fire for the game. I grew up with it, with a dad and grandpa as football coaches. It’s in my blood.”
Since retiring from football after the 2011 season, Garcia hasn’t gotten a lot of opportunities to coach. He was a QB coach for the Montreal Allouettes of the CFL in 2014 and an Offensive Assistant for the Rams in 2015.
Other than that, you might recall a few years back Garcia offered his services to try and help JaMarcus Russell in his attempt at an NFL comeback. It seemed like it might work right up until Russell got his settlement money from the Raiders and headed back to the couch.
So, needless to say, getting the job of QB coach with the Raiders, even in its somewhat limited role, would be a big step up for him.
“I would love to have the opportunity,” Garcia said. “I would love to get my foot in the door and be able to be back in the Bay Area and work with the Raiders. But that’s something that’s not really in my control. That’s their decision.”
Just in case, Garcia has his ideas of how he would go about fixing Derek Carr. And much of it sounds a lot like what Gannon said.
“A lot of it is just tempo,” said Garcia. “Tempo and speed. His drop, climbing up in the pocket, feeling the rush, avoiding the rush, keeping his eyes downfield, getting his body into the throws — starting with his feet —, Stepping into the direction of his target, getting your hips going in that direction, and really working from the feet on up to the arm.
“I think it all starts there, with accuracy, with decision-making with timing, with just the basic fundamentals, getting back to where he was two seasons ago when everybody believed that the Raiders were on their way to the top.”
We’ll soon find out if he or anyone else will get the opportunity to hold the QB coach position in Oakland.