Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

June 10, 2009
Gruden's take on JG pushing JR

Jeff Garcia piled on Jon Gruden when the coach was nudged out of Tampa Bay at the end of last season, intimating he, like some other players claimed, had been misled by Gruden. Apparently, the former Raiders coach-turned incoming Monday Night Football broadcaster doesn't harbor a grudge with his former Buccaneers QB, telling "The SIRIUS Blitz" show on SIRIUS NFL Radio recently he likes the Raiders signing the 10-year veteran to push JaMarcus Russell.

Following is the transcript provided by SIRIUS.

Host: "Jeff Garcia [has] landed in Oakland with JaMarcus Russell. What type of impact will he have, not only in the meeting room, but certainly maybe on the practice field? He's not the type of guy, as you know from being around him, that he's certainly not complacent and he's never going to be comfortable being a backup guy."

Jon Gruden: "No, that's for sure, because he's a premier competitor and I think that's the No. 1 criteria that you have to have to survive in the NFL at that position. You have to be a premier competitor. Garcia is that. And if you look at Jeff's career in the history of this game, he protects the ball as good or better than anybody that's ever played. He's one of the top four or five all-time in not turning the football over. And I think that's one thing that Jeff Garcia always brings to you, is a guy that will protect the football. It might frustrate you at times. You might want to take a little bit more risk, but Jeff Garcia will take care of the football. He'll be a premier competitor and I think that will help JaMarcus Russell as much as anything. And Oakland does have a fine supporting cast. They proved that against us [the Tampa Bay Buccaneers]. They've got some dynamic backs. They got a big, fast wide-out in the draft, and they're pretty darn good on defense. They have the best corner, in my opinion, in football and this could be a year that they could turn it around."

Host: "The first three games of the season for the Oakland Raiders - all three foes in the division - right now, who gives the Raiders the best chance to win those games, Garcia or Russell?"

Gruden: "I think they gotta go with JaMarcus Russell. He's the No. 1 pick in the draft. They've added Paul Hackett who I think is an outstanding coach. He's a tremendous quarterbacks coach. No one talks about the addition of Paul Hackett. I think he's going to really reach out and help JaMarcus Russell. But they've got a lot invested in him. This is only his third season. This is the time where JaMarcus Russell has to explode onto the scene. Hopefully [Darren] McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, some of his young support system, can help him, because he does have great ability throwing the football."
Later in the interview, Gruden shared one of his favorite stories about Rich Gannon, who was also on "The SIRIUS Blitz" that day, in which the fiery former Raiders QB had some choice words for his coach while under center during a Monday Night game years ago.

Gruden: "Rich Gannon, in the middle of an audible, against the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football, we were in a situation where we wanted to run one play or another, we either ran the play that was called or we canned it to another play. And right out of nowhere Gannon saw something better and he started a live audible. So I started yelling at him from the sideline and in the middle of his audible [he says], 'Black 350...Shut up, leave me alone!...Black 350.' He told me to shut up in the middle of an audible. I will never forget that as long as I live."

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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