April 06, 2009
Russell is young; Garcia is old. Russell has a missile launcher for an arm; Garcia has a squirt gun. Russell will have a low completion percentage; Garcia will have a high one. Russell throws a beautiful deep ball that might never land; Garcia throws a ball that's going to land after after 11 yards, even if his receiver is 14 yards away. Russell is young and learning; Garcia is old and efficient.
And there's this, too: Russell doesn't want Garcia to start; and Garcia, sooner or later, will be starting.
It's not a knock on Russell. It's way too early in his career to know what kind of quarterback he's going to be, though I think we can all agree that, at the moment, he falls under the category of "ton of potential, lots to learn." He's still going to be inconsistent.
The smart thing to do is to keep playing Russell, no matter what, just so he builds experience and you can figure out what you have. This would require patience and acknowledging that the team is rebuilding, but the Raiders aren't an organization known their their patience. Al Davis wants to, and believes he can, win right now.
Garcia, in the short term, probably gives them the best chance to do that. Things will probably run a little smoother with him at the helm. He'll bring fewer turnovers, a higher completion percentage, a respected veteran voice in the huddle. And with him, the Raiders are still probably nowhere near being a playoff team.
I don't think it's a bad move to sign Garcia. I do think it would be a bad move to look at him as a potential starting quarterback on a young, rebuilding team, though. And I've got a feeling that at some point this season, that's what the Raiders will do.
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