Put Confidence Against Poor Leadership and You've Got Yourself a New QB

Paula LehmanCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2009

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 21: Quarterback Jeff Garcia #7 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signals a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers at Raymond James Stadium on December 21, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The Raiders have already settled on their quarterback for 2009. It's JaMarcus Russell, according to all reports and comments from head coach Tom Cable. But I'm in agreement with a B/R article that notes a controversy is emerging.

With recent comments from Garcia himself, you can see parity between the two frontmen for Oakland. Garcia is showing confidence while Russell seems to be fading into the distance.

On the one hand, earlier this month Russell showed signs of correcting his lack of past leadership and announced he would hold a secret practice for all quarterbacks and wide receivers before training camp started.

That was before the 2007 first round pick went totally AWOL on the last day of OTA. Gone. No excuse, no apologies.

In the meantime, Garcia is exuding nothing but blunt power—at least from his mouth.

"Not knocking JaMarcus or anybody else on the team, but I just have a belief in my own abilities," Garcia told the Detroit News in an interview for today's edition. "Those things have me feeling that I am the best quarterback on the team."

Maybe Garcia, 39, is overconfident. And maybe it's all talk. He certainly shows a competitive edge, but he will need to convert that competitive side to his on-field performance in training camp in order to really make those words mean something.

It makes sense, especially in the eyes of Russell's biggest fan, Al Davis, to let the rookie run with it in his third season, assuming he's learned how to hang in the NFL by then.

But Russell's work ethic is certainly questionable despite his improvement in the red zone during OTA. Offseason production is one thing, but once you hit the turf in September, a true leader won't crack, while someone who can't even put in another day of practice has a good chance of mucking it up.

To be fair, Russell hasn't had enough time in the NFL to put up the kind of numbers Garcia has having a 100-game head start on the rookie. And he's doing something right having shown improvement and earning the respect of hard-nosed Al Davis.

But just like Garcia, it's all talk until training camp.