The Raiders signing QB Jeff Garcia was a mistake.
By Bill Smith
What has held the Raiders back for the last few years? No, I mean beside having Al Davis calling the personnel decisions! It has been the lack of development of QB JaMarcus Russell. The Raiders signed QB Jeff Garcia this week to a one year contract. Garcia is exactly the wrong guy to bring in where a young QB is struggling.
Garcia is not someone that will help develop a young QB. In fact, he will likely retard the development of Russell just by being in the locker room.
IF Garcia is the starter, he will totally ignore Russell. Garcia was a Brown in 2004 when the team had a young QB Kelly Holcomb on the roster. Garcia was the starter and according to reports from several players on the team, Garcia refused to do anything to help develop Holcomb. Holcomb had potential but never developed the way he could have with a true mentor. Garcia could have provided that for him but the starter chose not to.
Garcia was not the only thing that prevented Holcomb’s development but it was a contributing factor. The lack of quality coaching and a decent front line had a lot to do with it as well.
But Garcia is going to be the backup to Russell. That is worse for Russell’s development. Bet on Garcia doing everything he can do to split the locker room and reduce Russell’s chances for success. The reason that Garcia accepted a minimum contract is that he felt that Russell had a better than average chance to fail. That would make Garcia the starter.
Davis wants Russell to succeed. That is the only thing that is going to justify Davis’ picking Russell with his first pick. Russell has a ton of physical ability. Up to now, he has lacked the work ethic to turn potential into performance. Former head coach Lane Kiffin tried to convince Davis that Russell was a bust. That was one of the things that got Kiffin fired.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel for the Raiders and for once it isn’t an on coming train. In an interview at the owner’s meeting, head coach Tom Cable agreed that QB JaMarcus Russell needs to develop a stronger work ethic in order to become an elite quarterback.
He said “If he (Russell) can accept the responsibility of being an NFL quarterback, I think that’s working more, working harder, working longer than everybody else, accepting the responsibility that his teammates look to him as the face of the organization, that he has to go above and beyond almost on a daily basis…if he can accept that and become that, he’ll be fine. He’ll be great, I think. Has he done that? I think during the last six weeks he started to, during the season. I think thus far in the offseason he’s been around more than ever. He was never around like this on his own, just watching tape, studying, so that’s a step in the right direction. I think he has to embrace that, though, for him to be what he should be.”
Now Russell has another problem—Garcia working behind his back. Good luck with that JaMarcus! You’ll need it.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .
My email is [email protected]