Jeff Garcia discusses his desire to return to NFL, Brett Farve, young QBs
I know that there's been a lot of talk recently about me and a potential comeback. It goes back to three weeks ago when Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer was injured. I told a player personnel representative for Cleveland that Hoyer reminded me of myself. I mentioned half-heartedly, "Hey, if you're looking for anybody ..."
Fast forward three weeks later and it's out there because I mentioned it during an interview with a Cleveland radio station. I also made some comments about being open to returning to Minnesota to help Josh Freeman, but that was brought up to me in an interview. I'm not out there seeking this sort of attention, but I'd be remiss to deny that sitting here at 43 years old, there's a fire that still burns from within when it comes to the NFL.
I'm not trying to relive my glory days. I'm not talking about coming in and being a difference-maker right now. I'm talking about being able to help a young quarterback learn and let him bounce ideas off of me as a mentor. Look at the opportunity Andrew Luck has with Matt Hasselbeck, or the Jets bringing in David Garrard to help out Geno Smith.
The quarterback position is probably the strongest it's ever been in the league, if you look at the starters. But there's a big gap between the starter and the No. 2. There's a lack of quality depth. So when you lose your starter, you're in trouble.
Seeing the type of players who are out there in backup roles and now stepping onto the field, those guys are struggling with this leadership opportunity. I continue to see quarterbacks who simply don't have any experience.
I don't think young quarterbacks are developing as well these days. For the top picks, there's no buffer time anymore. They're forced onto the field by the business side of the game. Last year, with Andrew Luck and RGIII and Russell Wilson was an exception. But the problem is more the next level down. If young quarterbacks aren't on the field today, they develop poor habits. They're just watching, getting no reps with the starting offense. They're running the scout team offense -- and those guys are often told who to throw to, instead of reading the coverages.
With so many young quarterbacks, I see a lack of urgency. They just aren't thinking as fast or working as fast in the pocket. Their anticipation is not where it needs to be. We're seeing young quarterbacks hold onto the football until a receiver breaks free instead of throwing a receiver open. The footwork's not there as they go through their progressions.
That's what I saw from Brian Hoyer -- and he had the opportunity to be in New England to see Tom Brady. When Cleveland went back to Brandon Weeden after Hoyer's injury, I wish he had learned from watching Brian. You need to be ahead of the game. That's oftentimes what young quarterback don't quite understand.
This is how I look at it: There's room for three quarterbacks on each team. If you're going to go with a young quarterback to be a starter, you had better have an older quarterback -- at least as your No. 3. -- to mentor or to step in.
From what I understand, St. Louis called Brett Favre. If you're the Rams, why not make the call? It's not going to do them any good to bring in a 24- or 25-year-old kid who hasn't played. I'm sure Brett was honored by the call because he's been such a great competitor.
I'm sure Brett is a realist, too, in the sense that maybe he hasn't been taking care of himself in the same way. I think the game really caught up to him in his last season, too. The beating he took in the final year wasn't one of those things he could bounce back from any more.
I can take a step back and be realistic, too. I'm 43 and I haven't gotten any faster over the past couple years. The last time I played, in 2011 with the Texans, I literally came off the couch and had to go right into the mix of running a scout team. I looked around and it was a bunch of 20-something guys. But after a couple weeks, I was able to get back into the grind, and things started to slow down again for me.
This year, it's different. I continue to stay in shape. I started coaching young quarterbacks. I'm not in a position where I haven't picked up a football in nine months. Do I have the ability to throw the football, be accurate, make smart decisions? I could still mentally and physically handle the opportunity if presented.
I'm probably smarter now than I was three or six years ago.
I'm not expecting the chance. It's almost like I get caught up talking about it because I'm around the game. I see so many quarterback changes happening, and I can't help but think about it.
I'm content with my career. I'm not sitting here as a bitter old man in any way. I like what I'm doing now and spending time with my young family. Football gave me so many opportunities. But I still have that fire.
I'm not expecting anything. But if the opportunity presents itself, I'm going to bust my tail to make the most of it.