When quarterback Jeff Garcia signed a free-agent deal with the Raiders, eyebrows raised throughout the league.
The move was regarded by many as an indication that, if starter JaMarcus Russell struggles in 2009, Garcia will be given a chance to do what Kerry Collins and Kurt Warner did to Vince Young and Matt Leinart, respectively, a year ago.
And the 39-year-old Garcia is doing nothing to dispel the notion that he plans to play.
“Not knocking JaMarcus or anybody else on the team, but I just have a
belief in my own abilities,” Garcia tells Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. “[That has] me feeling I am the best quarterback on
the team. That’s just how I approach the game.”
That attitude prompts Garcia to work hard. And, ideally, his hard work will rub off on Russell. If it doesn’t, Russell could be bumped to the bench.
“I have a certain work ethic that is a part of me,” Garcia said. “When I step on the
field, there is no 50 percent. It’s 100 percent all the time. It’s
sprinting from drill to drill. It’s doing everything full speed. It’s,
when I throw an incomplete pass, showing I care I threw an incomplete
pass. Not just, ‘Oh, shucks, I just didn’t throw the ball as well.’ I’m
very critical of myself. Because I’m critical of myself . . . that’s
where I feel I help myself.”
And so either Garcia’s example will help Russell — or it will help Garcia.
Either way, the Raiders probably are going to be better with the veteran quarterback than they would have been without him.