What is better than a good old quarterback controversy?
Fans, the media, and players are at a constant standstill, and everyone is an expert.
Since agreeing to come to Oakland, Jeff Garcia has been pretty adamant about his confidence to still lead the team while JaMarcus Russell gets his game in gear. A few are even speculating that Garcia has a legit shot at being announced as the opening night starter versus the hated San Diego Chargers.
The Raiders never run a normal operation compared to other franchises, but is this really normal?
Al Davis has expressed his love for Russell's talent in action and words. An owner/GM will never select a QB No. 1 if they don't believe he can carry contending teams throughout the majority of his career. Straying from that plan does not help a team that is supposed to be rebuilding. Al is a wild guy, but he surely knows better considering the rumored environment at team headquarters.
Tom Cable is an extension for Davis. Call him a puppet or yes man if you must, but somehow, some way, the attitude and morale is higher in Alameda. It can only be perceived as a positive with a few weeks before Napa accepts the Raiders again. He has their attention and has called out Russell a few times on work ethic. Then he brings in Garcia to heat things up by mouthing off to the media every chance he gets.
I seriously wouldn't rule out Al and the Cable Guy planning this far in advance to force Russell's hand. Garcia may have been encouraged to exaggerate an open competition so the media can pick it up. It seems JaMarcus was content on doing what was only required by CBA rules, but with the news of his Alabama workouts this week, a change may have come.
Nonetheless, starting Garcia does nothing for your future.
I remember a press conference maybe two years ago when Davis admitted the players' No. 1 priority is money. This is very true, but ego is a close second. You want the publicity as the man on the team. Athletes live for it. Quarterback is the top spot in all sports, and I doubt a young QB surrounded by a lot of hype will let a 39-year-old washout take his job.
I applaud Davis and Cable if they really hatched this plan under everyone's nose while getting Russell top of the line QB coaching. Truth is that if Garcia is starting the majority of the season and Russell is a bust, the Raiders will have much more trouble than a six-year drought could ever produce.