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JaMarcus Russell Bench Watch: Raiders Sign Garcia

Whew!  I was starting to go into withdrawal!  It had been 140 days since I'd posted something critical of JaMarcus Russell but thanks to the Raiders, that ends today.

After a four-team, five-season odyssey since leaving the 49ers, Jeff Garcia finally found his way back home to the Bay Area — albeit on the other side from where he started.

The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback joined the Oakland Raiders today, with the 39-year-old passer agreeing to a one-year deal to be JaMarcus Russell’s backup.

Well there you go.  Now of course, Garcia was brought in as the backup.  Not the starter.  JaMarcus Russell is the starter.  Everybody knows that.   You can tell that just by looking at their stats from last year:


- 2,712 pass yds, 12 TDs, 6 INTs, 64.9% completion rate, 90.2 QB Rating

- 2,423 pass yds, 13 TDs, 8 INTs, 53.8% completion rate, 77.1 QB Rating

Whoops!  Silly me, I forgot to label the stats.  Well, it's pretty clear which one is the starter and which one is the backup, right?

Unless you're new here (if you are, welcome!) then you know I'm being cynical.  The top line is Jeff Garcia's stat line from last season, the bottom line is JaMarcus Russell's.  The numbers are slightly skewed though -- Garcia only played in 12 games, while Russell played in 15 games.  

If you do the math, JaMarcus Russell averaged 161.5 passing yards per game last year.  Yikes.  So the big question for fantasy owners is: "How bad do the Raiders have to be before Russell gets yanked in favor of Garcia"?  Would a bad start (say 0-3 or 0-4) do it?  Maybe a particularly bad loss to the rival Broncos?  Maybe the local supermarket is out of orange-flavored Metamucil and Al Davis is mistakenly given the unflavored kind?  Who knows?  It could be anything! 

Whatever the trigger might be, I think Russell is likely to be benched at some point this season.  Rank him on your draft lists with caution.