In an interview still available on line this week with Chris Myers of KLAC 570 in Los Angeles, Garcia addressed questions about the difficulty of accepting his role of a backup quarterback. Garcia sounded like he could accept the backup role -- until the minute he thinks he gives the Raiders a better chance to win.
Garcia, who has spent more of his NFL career embroiled in a quarterback controversy than embroiled in a clear-cut starting job, has been through this before. "I'm not going to say that things can't change and I understand that the role I have basically assumed going into Oakland knowing that JaMarcus was drafted to be the starting quarterback there," Garcia said in the interview.
"But, if for some reason," Garcia continues, "With what I bring as a player, from a competitive nature, and just the intensity and emotion that I bring to the field, and the knowledge of the game that I have -- if that gives us a better chance to win football games, then that decision is going to have to be left up to the coach and hopfully he can make the right decision for the team."
Certainly Mr. Garcia has entertained the possibility that he could win this starting job. Certainly he's not shy about articluating the precise reasons why his skill set could justify a quarterback change.
"It’s about the team, it’s not about protecting egos, or protecting investment dollars, it’s about what’s going to give this team a chance to win football games," Garcia says in the interview. "And honestly, if JaMarcus can be that guy, more power to him, because that’s what he was drafted to do for the team. But it doesn’t always seem to work out that way as to what owners and GM's may hope for and what actually transpires in the locker room and on the field.”
This is all just and fair, and it's no accident that Garcia was brought in during the same off-season that Tom Cable has publicly acknowledged JaMarcus Russell's need for development of work ethic.
Russell has had a full season starting last year, and earned a quarterback rating of 77.1. Garcia started all but four games for the Buccaneers, and exceeded that rating in nearly every game, and had maintained a rating over 90 in each of his last three seasons.
If Russell can build on his surprising success in the final month of last season, this is all a moot conversation. But if we start wondering if we'd be better off with Garcia, then Garcia doesn't want us to have to wonder for very long.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer whose only scrambling abilities involve jimmying his cable tv receiver.