By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 3:27 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Transcript of an interview with quarterback Jeff Garcia when he continues to straddle the difficult line of accepting his role as a backup with his undeniable desire to be the starting quarterback:
Q: How is the process of being a mentor for JaMarcus going?
Garcia: He’s my teammate, first and foremost, so I’m going to support him, and try to push him as much as possible as far as being the best player he can be for this team. He has a coach, his coach is Paul Hackett. I’m here to be support and add strength to the position, however that may be. And hopefully he’s ready and able to take this team, basically take control and go out and lead this team to a lot of wins this year.
Q: How open has Russell been to you pushing him, and showing him what you’ve gleaned over the years?
Garcia: Well, I mean, it’s not like you can just sit there and critique a guy as he’s going through his daily workout, or personally say things. I think moreso than anything, my whole thing is just leading through example, work ethic and everything that’s been a part of my game throughout my career and what’s enabled me to now go into my 16t professional season and it’s been about hard work, it’s been about dedication, it’s been about finding a way to create success on the field, and to create positive energy in the huddle and in the locker room, and those are the things I feel I can contribute to this team and to the position and to JaMarcus.
Q: How do you get to the point where you’re OK not being a starter?
Garcia: There’s not a single guy on this team, no matter what their role is, that is OK about not starting. We all want to be starters. We all want to be players, we want to be contributors, that doesn’t mean you have to be a negative influence in the locker room or create negative energy. That doesn’t mean anything like that. We all got to this level because we were starters, and have been starters, and have been playmakers in some form of capacity or in some shape or form. That’s what I still have within myself. I don’t believe I’m a backup quarterback by any means. I feel like this team is getting a quality player at the position and however it ends up being utilized is how it ends up working out. I realize what the situation is here so I’m not coming in here trying to stir the pot, or anything like that, I’m coming here to make the position better, to make the position stronger from the first guy to the third guy and that means all of us combining together to be better.
Q: Setup in Napa as opposed to other camps . . .
Garcia: It looks nice I’ve been in a combination of all kinds of things. I’ve been in hotels. I’ve been in college dorms. The last couple of years we were at Disneyworld in Orlando, and so there are different settings, the fact that this is more of a close off setting, not open to the public, that’s different. I haven’t really been in that sort of situation since my days in San Francisco when we came back to Santa Clara and started practicing back in our own facility there. I think that it’s a positive atmosphere. I think Napa is a beautiful scene and a great place to be and I’ll look forward to enjoying it.
Q: Said on radio show hoped coach Cable would make decision on QB based on not how much someone makes or where he’s picked, but on the play on the field. Are you confident from what you’ve heard from coach Cable that if you perform best out here in the next month and in preseason games that there’s a chance you will be the starter in the opener?
Garcia: I really can’t speak for that. That’s something that coach Cable will make the decision on. My job is to make certain decisions hard. JaMarcus’s job is to make the decision easy and to go out there and be the guy that this team has invested in to be, and that’s to be a leader, to be a player that is accountable and that everybody looks toward to basically carry the team on his shoulders and lead this team to victory. That’s the key here. I want to just help make this team better, and I think that I do that by being a part of this team, by bringing what I’m capable of bringing to this team. I’m not the guy who comes in with all the accolades coming out of college and the high draft picks. But I come in with a lot of positive experience, I come in with success at winning football games and going to playoffs and leading different organizations to that sort of level. I don’t see this as being any different, and I don’t think that any player should focus on who the starter is at one position, but how can they be the best that they can be in order to help this team rise to another level.
Q: How important for rookies get camp on time?
Garcia: They’re already being in the sense that they don’t have the experience. If they miss any days in training camp, it’s not so much what they miss out on mentally, but just the fact of being around your teammates and getting a feel for how things work, how players practice professionally, how players work day in and day out. I think that’s so important, and obviously, the more days they miss, the more they have to play catchup on the mental side. It’s everything else. Just getting to know your teammates and earning your respect from your teammates. We understand there’s a business side to this also and that’s the unfortunate side sometimes, because it takes away from a player just beinga player, but hopefully whatever situation’s there are with the rookies everything gets worked out, and players come into camp, and they’re ready to go.
Walter checks in
After heading upstairs to transcribe the Garcia inteview, a colleage phoned with the information that Andrew Walter had arrived at camp, saying he doesn’t know what his role will be and has no planned meeting with coach Tom Cable in advance of a 9 a.m. team meeting Wednesday.