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Still No Respect for Jeff Garcia

Is there any other player–outside of maybe Donovan McNabb–who gets more disrespect than former Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia?

There’s no question that Garcia is a sensitive guy–but you would be too if your job was consistently threatened despite your proven ability to play in the NFL.

Jeff Garcia Released...Again.

Jeff Garcia Released...Again.

First it was San Francisco.  Garcia came in after a great career by Steve Young and took over the reins of the team in 1999.  In 2000, Garcia exploded.  That year, he threw for 31 touchdowns and just ten intcerptions.  2001 wasn’t shabby, either, as Garcia threw 32 touchdowns, twelve interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of 94.8.

During the 2002 playoffs, Garcia was instrumental in helping to lead the 49ers back from a 38-14 deficit in the third quarter.  The 49ers scored 25 unanswered points and went on to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Soon, the Garcia-T.O fued would heat up.  Owens, not liking Garcia for some unknown (but most likely) selfish reason, questioned Garcia’s sexuality.  Owens, discussing Garcia, stated, “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, chances are it’s probably a duck.”  Garcia would be incredulous, making public statements that he doesn’t know why Owens was bent on cutting him down so harshly.

Garcia would eventually land in Cleveland, where then head coach Butch Davis refused to let him roll out of the pocket and make audibles.  His time in Detroit was equally disappointing in 2005.

The next year, Garcia found himself in Philadelphia, where he was able to resurrect his career.  With McNabb suffering a devastating injury towards to end of the season, Garcia led his team through an improbable run of victories, and the team advanced farther than anyone thought they would in the playoffs.

But then Garcia was promptly released–the team didn’t even make an effort to sign him.  In fact, the Eagles signed Jay Feeley to a contract to be the team’s backup, thus throwing Garcia back into the unemployment line.

Garcia was eventually signed by Tampa Bay, but Jon Gruden’s love for playing “musical quarterbacks” lead to frustration for Garcia.  Garcia eventually stated publicly that his head coach didn’t like to marry quarterbacks, he just wanted to date them.

That was evident in Tampa Bay.  Garcia was routinely yanked out of the lineup in favor of other quarterbacks on the roster.

This past week, Garcia was once again released by yet another team.  At age 39, Garcia would like to still play and doesn’t have any plans for retirement.

But why is Garcia so disrespected?  If anything, his inability to stick onto a team reminds me of Doug Flutie’s NFL career.  Two small, scrambling quarterbacks who were never given any expectation of success.  And despite their ability to lead and to win, they are still discounted.  In Buffalo, Doug Flutie was pulled by Wade Phillips for the highly ineffective (and far too often sacked) Rob Johnson.

It could also be Garcia’s personality–he does seem like a sensitive guy.  It’s possible that he clashes with certain coaches or doesn’t take criticism very well.  But he’s proven that he can win in this league.  And in a league where quarterbacks such as Tarvaris Jackson, Derek Anderson, Brodie Croyle and Dan Orlovsky all started at some point last year, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Jeff Garcia doesn’t latch onto some team.

Somewhere.

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

With Favre Gone, Where Do the Jets Go from Here?

Today, it has been reported that Brett Favre has informed the New York Jets that he plans to retire.

Again.

This isn’t shocking.  While Favre had some success in New York, the team tanked in December and blew a shot at the playoffs with a loss against Miami in week 17.

Coupled with that, Favre has been battling against a shoulder injury that may or may not need surgery, while some of his teammates have suggested that Brett’s penchant for throwing interceptions was a significant reason as to why the team finished so cold.

Favre Calls It Quits

Favre Calls It Quits

At least Favre did not drag out his decision. And with a decision now made, the New York Jets can finally move on.

With new head coach Rex Ryan, there are a few options for the team to pursue.

They already have Kellen Clemens, a young quarterback who has seen limited playing time.  He appears to have a big arm, but his potential is completely unknown.

The Jets could also go after a veteran quarterback.  It’s highly unlikely that the Jets would like to give up what’s needed to acquire Matt Cassell.  It’s also highly unlikely that the New England Patriots would want to trade their young quarterback to a division rival.

Jeff Garcia could be available, but Garcia is almost the same age as Favre.  There’s no future in acquiring Garcia, and his style of play is very specific.  Garcia likes to be able to roll outside the pocket–something he wasn’t given as much leeway to do during his unproductive years in Cleveland and Detroit.  Garcia would have to truly fit into a system perfectly, and with a new head coach, it’s hard to know what type of system Rex Ryan prefers on offense.

Jeff Garcia

Jeff Garcia

Then there’s Derek Anderson of Cleveland–an intriguing prospect.  Though Anderson had a disappointing 2008, his 2007 season was off the charts.  He’s only 25 years old, and has a rocket arm.  On the right team, it’s possible he could flourish.  His salary wouldn’t be as high as Matt Cassell, and he could probably be had for a third round pick.  The only sticking point would be that former Jets coach Eric Mangini is now the head man in charge in Cleveland.  Due to the seemingly bad blood between Mangini and the Jets front office, they wouldn’t want to be trade partners with each other.

Other options include Pittsburgh’s Byron Leftwich, Kurt Warner, Kerry Collins, and even Vince Young.

In a year when the quarterback class isn’t as strong–both in free agency and the upcoming NFL Draft, it just might be a seller’s market.

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best/Worst NFL Desicions of 2008

With the New Year right around the corner, let’s look back at a few of the best and worst decisions of the 2008 NFL season.

BEST:

1)  Starting rookie quarterbacks–Choosing to start young guns Matt Ryan and Joe Flacoo truly paid off for the Falcons and Ravens, respectively.  Both players managed the game well, looked poised in the pocket, and limited their mistakes.  Ryan and Flacoo never hit a rookie wall and just may have changed the thought around the league that rookie quarterbacks should never hit the football field early.

2)  Michael Turner to the Falcons–While everyone knew that Turner had great ability, no one knew quite what to expect from Tomlinson’s career backup.  Turner’s decision to go to Atlanta was met with skepticism, as the big man signed with one of the worst teams of 2007.  Seventeen touchdowns later, Turner was the best free agent signing of the 2008.

Matt Cassell

Matt Cassell

3)  Keeping Matt Cassell–A career backup everywhere he went, the Patriots made a great decision in both developing Cassell and not cutting him.  For years, Cassell looked awful in pre-season games, and he was close to being cut several times over the years.  The Patriots were smart in keeping Cassell around, as Tom Brady’s injury proved how necessary it is to have a quality back-up.

WORST:

1)  Not Trading Derek Anderson–This is not hindsight.  The Browns should’ve traded Anderson the minute after the pro-bowl ended.  His numbers last season looked good, but Anderson faltered down the stretch in 2007.  His ineptitude against the Bengals in December of 2007 cost the Browns a playoff birth.  And Anderson couldn’t hit his receivers in the pro bowl–a game that doesn’t allow opposing defenses to blitz.  GM Phil Savage refused to trade Anderson and closed the door on the possibility of a training camp competiton involving Brady Quinn.  Anderson eventually signed a long term contract with Cleveland, and Phil Savage simultaneously signed his own death warrant.

Derek Anderson

Derek Anderson

2)  Jets Release Chad Pennington–Pennington was always a pretty good quarterback.  Not great, but he did a lot of things well and was football smart.  While one cannot argue that his weak arm is better suited in warm Miami than cold New York, Pennington was always good for minimizing his mistakes.  Favre, while certainly a gun slinger, is a turnover machine.  The choice to trade for Brett Favre and subsequently release Pennington came back to bite them in week 17.  It also cost Eric Mangini his head coaching job.

3)  PacMan Jones Gets a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Chance–This is all on Roger Goodell.  At some point, a man such as PacMan Jones needs to learn that his beahvoir is not acceptable, and that priveleges he has enjoyed in the past will be stripped away due to his reckless behaivor.  Regarding Jones and the NFL, his priveleges were always taken away–but only temporarily.  Whether it’s his dozens of arrests, his fight at a night club which resulted in someone getting shot and paralyzed, or his “incident” with his own bodyguard, it’s clear that PacMan Jones just doesn’t “get it.”  And for someone who acts so stupid off the field, he should’ve forver lost the privelege to suit up and play.

December 30, 2008 Posted by | NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments