Russell’s work ethic called into question again

According to a report by the National Football Post’s Michael Lombardi, Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell’s work ethic continues to be called into question.

2. The work ethic of quarterback JaMarcus Russell is still being questioned by many who have worked with him in the past and are working with him now. After he issued a call to his teammates to practice and finish the OTA days strong, he then disappeared and was AWOL on the last day. Russell must learn that talent alone is not going to make him successful. Dedication to becoming a better player is what he needs.

Assuming this report is true (I’m not at Oakland’s practice facility everyday), Russell is in for a wake up call soon enough. I guarantee you if Russell isn’t busting his ass, Jeff Garcia (who the Raiders signed in the offseason) is. Garcia might be an aging vet and limited on the field in terms of arm strength, but he’s incredibly feisty and wants to play.

Russell isn’t long for the NFL if he won’t work. It’ll be interesting to see if more reports like Lombardi’s come to light over the summer once training camp begins.

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Bucs tell Jeff Garcia that they’re moving on

The Buccaneers told free agent quarterback Jeff Garcia that they’re heading in another direction and won’t re-sign him this offseason.

Jeff GarciaGarcia, who turns 39 before the start of free agency Feb. 27, said Sunday night Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik has informed his agent, Steve Baker, that the team did not want him to return for a third season.

“My time in Tampa has come to an end,” Garcia said.

The Bucs signed quarterback Luke McCown to a two-year, $7.5-million contract last week, preventing him from becoming a free agent.

“I’m not under contract and I’m about to hit free agency and that means it’s time again for me to just move on,” Garcia said. “It is disappointing because I enjoyed the atmosphere and the team environment in that locker room…Change is needed at times. Sometimes it’s how you tweak it, not change it. With a new head coach, they want somebody pulling the trigger that they can mold. Beyond that, I don’t know why they’re making the move.”

Garcia went 14-10 in 24 starts during the regular season with the Bucs the past two seasons, leading Tampa Bay to a playoff appearance in 2007 and earning a trip to the Pro Bowl while throwing 13 touchdowns and four interceptions.

But last season, a calf injury he sustained in training camp led to his benching after a season-opening loss at New Orleans. Garcia regained the job the second quarter of the season and finished with an 8-5 record.

Garcia was a solid quarterback in Jon Gruden’s offense, but he can’t throw outside of the hash marks or beyond 15 yards on a consistent basis so he limits what an offense can do in the passing game. Rumors started to circulate that he could join the Bears, but that would be a bad fit given the weather conditions and type of offense Chicago runs (i.e. they like to throw downfield, which isn’t one of Garcia’s strong suits).

One team that might give him a shot is Minnesota, who runs a similar ball-control offense that Tampa did. Although, the Vikes already have a crusty old vet who played pretty well last year in Gus Frerotte, so signing Garcia seems unlikely. He’ll probably be relegated to a backup role, although some team might still promise him the opportunity to start if he performs well in training camp and preseason.

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