Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 22, 2009
Garcia makes his 2-minute debut, and other notes from Niner game

The plan was for Jeff Garcia to make his Raiders debut somewhere in the middle of the second quarter. Instead, and for no particular reason other than it just happened this way, he took the field in the heat of a 2-minute drill, the Raiders on their own 40-yard line with 1:59 remaining in the half.

It was vintage Garcia as the four-time Pro Bowler took command and moved the offense. After a false start on Robert Gallery. Garcia threw two passes, scrambled for nine yards, threw another couple of passes, handed off to Michael Bush and spiked the ball at the 49ers 28-yard line with 48 seconds remaining. Then he threw a pass slightly behind and a tad high to Johnny Lee Higgins, the ball caroming off the receiver's hands and into the waiting grasp of Allen Rossum for an interception. Garcia's day was done.

"It's a game of inches; you can't miss like that," Garcia said. "What could have been maybe the completion of a positive drive turned out to be a negative ending to my limited time. So, it was good to get back out on the field. I'm not quite, where I would want to be, just because of limited practice, but, just to get out in the mix and have some opportunities to make some plays, I thought there were some good things that took place tonight."

Garcia, 39, also said his strained right calf is still lingering but he has fully accepted his role as a back-up quarterback and mentor to JaMarcus Russell. Even if Garcia has not embraced it.

"Well, that opportunity (to compete for the starting job) isn't presenting itself, and I realize that," he said. "So I'm not in a position to where I can necessarily compete for that starting job. That's not the role that I've been given. My job right now is to push myself to be the best that I can be and to help JaMarcus grow as a quarterback and help him to continue to better himself, and to look at the little details of the game that can help him in the long run. And I think if we can grow together in that sort of way, it can make the position stronger and it'll help the position be more successful."

Garcia was asked if Russell has been receptive.

"I think early on there was a lot of just feeling out as to, I am a teammate, but I'm sure there was a sense of, They're bringing in this veteran who has been in the West Coast system for a number of years, who's had success on the field," Garcia said. "And I'm sure that in a way there was a sense of being threatened in that way. But never have I tried to make this a battle between him and I, and I think the more that we've gotten a chance to be around each other and become teammates the way that we are now, especially through training camp, the relationship, the friendship is definitely grown quite a bit."

Communication has come easier.

"I'm not going to tell him how to play the position," Garcia said. "He's been playing the position a long time, and he's had a lot of success playing the position. But I can help him in understanding certain things, nuances, and just the approach to the game, and just the things that I see on the field, and we can talk about that and figure out what the best approach is. And so in that sort of way, I think things have gotten a lot better between us, and they'll continue to get better. I'm here to support him and help him be the best he can be for this team."

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Call it a piece of sweet revenge. With the way the 49ers defensive backs were woofing at the Raiders' young receivers during the joint practice session Wednesday in which they had five interceptions in a red-zone drill, you'd think Louis Murphy would holler back. After all, the rookie from Florida, who was credited with getting the Niners' blood going with some trash talk, used cornerback Nate Clements on his 24-yard touchdown reception from Russell midway through the second quarter.

Instead, Murphy took it in stride.

"It was just a good call against the coverage they were playing," Murphy said. It just happened that he bit on the coverage and I ended up in the back of the end zone."

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Middle linebacker Kirk Morrison is out for at least two weeks after dislocating his left elbow on a tackle.

"Someone landed on it," he said. "I got up and my elbow was just kind of hanging."

Asked if it hurt, Morrison smiled and said, "I'm a warrior, baby."

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A scene to remember - undrafted rookie Nick Miller, trudging off the field, shoulders slumped and head down, after his fumbled punt with 3:30 to play effectively ended the game. No one walked with him until special teams coordinator John Fassel ran up behind him, put an arm around him and whispered something into his ear. Classy move by Fassel, even if the fumble, committed when he was trying to gain an extra yard when his fate was already sealed, doomed his chances at making the team.

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The Raiders have added a No. 95 sticker to the back of their helmets in memory of late linebacker Marquis Cooper, who died in a tragic boating accident this offseason in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Guess who jumped to the Dark Side? That's right, I'm on Twitter now. Follow me at www.twitter.com@paulhgutierrez for Raiders and other sports news in the Bay Area.

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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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