Garcia's QB views

Is he or isn't he? Will he or won't he? Jeff Garcia answered some questions Wednesday about his health, his playing status and who will - and who should - be at quarterback for the Niners in Monday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Q: Can you give us an update on how the ankle is feeling?

Garcia: I think it is getting better. I think if there is one way to look at it, it is that it is progressing into a better situation every day. It's just a matter of time before I am getting more comfortable on the field and able to do more things. But as of right now, it's still a recovery phase.

Q: How have you been dealing with with the media talking about a quarterback controversy?

Garcia: The fickleness of things never surprised me. That's just the way you guys are, the way everybody is and it is just something that I deal with. I think that in many ways I am going to go out there and try to do the best possible job. I've been trying to do that for the five years that I have been here with the 49ers. The fact that it is so easy to push someone aside - yeah that bothers me. But it also creates a new energy, or a new attitude for me to just go back out there and prove people wrong once again. The whole thing, I can't say the words on the radio or on the air right now to really express how I feel about that.

Q: Doesn't that come with the territory?

Garcia: It is ridiculous, is what I think. I've proven myself time and time again. And the fact that this team has been struggling a little bit at times this year is not completely indicative of the quarterback position. We win and lose as a team. And I'm the first one to be there to accept my blame or accept whatever responsibilities that I have to take on. The fact that we have lost some close games this year, that we won last year in many of the similar type situations, has now all of a sudden created a situation that is very undeserving. You look at three weeks ago when we played Tampa Bay, that's a similar game as to how we played against the Rams. But because we had the in-between loss to Arizona, it creates a little bit of uncertainty. Believe me, I was as happy for Tim (Rattay) as anybody else because that means this team is continuing to move forward and continuing to be strong where it needs to be strong. The fact that it created everything else, I'm doing my best not to pay attention to it.

Q: Can it be good for a guy to sit out a couple of weeks and get rejuvenated?

Garcia: Well I think in many ways, it's helped me to heal up in other areas. I was dealing with injuries on other parts of my body that were really starting to weigh me down, starting to hold me down in ways. It was becoming a struggle every single day to continue to be putting myself at the best as far as energy level, as far as enthusiasm, because every day I came in it was like something was keeping me down, holding me down. And now, yeah, I have another injury, but I think in many ways I am excited to finally get back on the field, especially today. Just to get back out on the field and to run around and to move a little bit and to be part of everything that was happening and not be sitting in the training room during practice and getting rehab and all that stuff. All that stuff really starts to take away from why I'm playing football. I'm playing football because I want to be out on the field and I want be competing every single day. And the fact that I hadn't been able to do that was frustrating to me. Now that I've been able to get out on the field and run around and throw the football, that's new energy, new excitement for me.

Q: Do you see anything drastically changing to get you to start on Monday?

Garcia: I don't see anything drastically changing. I think that if there is anything, if looking at it today, I felt very good about how I responded out on the field as far as what they had me doing physically. I see myself dressing on Sunday in a support-type role. I don't see myself necessarily getting back into the position of being the starter this Monday night. But it is one of those things where I am going to be ready to play no matter what. I think by the end of the week, come Monday, I will be in a position, physically, to be able to handle the responsibility if it comes my way.

Q: Do you agree that if you are healthy enough to play, you should be starting?

Garcia: Not necessarily. I'm the first one to say that I'm not going to put my team into a bad position. If I'm not getting the reps out in practice, which I really strongly believe, in order for me to be the type of player that I need to be, I need to be out here on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, at latest Thursday. But it's not going to happen tomorrow. I'm not going to be the guy out there getting the reps. Tim's going to be the guy. And because he's getting the reps, he's the one preparing physically and getting used to the timing and everything with the team. He's going be the one that is going to give us the best chance to win Monday night. I'm going to put myself in a position, that if it comes down to it, to be that second guy in line to help the team win.

Q: Are you using the "quarterback controversy" as motivation when you get back?

Garcia: That's how I always have driven myself because I always have found people that have doubted me or have tried to hold me down in certain ways. This is nothing different than what I have experienced in the past throughout my life, so it's just another driving force to get back out on the field and to rejuvenate myself, if that's what is needed. I don't necessarily believe that I have needed that. I feel that every game that I have played in this year, I have left it all out on the field. We can't say anything about that as far as not going out and competing to the highest level. Maybe I haven't been as productive as I have been in the past, but that is something that I know is within me and can be displayed out on the field once I get back out on the field.

Q: Do you feel there is any internal talk inside the locker room about a quarterback controversy?

Garcia: Not at all. I don't believe that there are any doubts in this locker room. I think all that this has created is a positive situation in the sense that they can count on somebody else if something were to happen to me, which Tim has shown to be a very strong, knowledgeable, winning-type quarterback, which he's shown in the preseason. Every time he's gotten the opportunity to get on the field, he's done some good things. And it's great. It's great for this team. And it just gives this team a little more security.

Q: Since people always question you, do you think it might change that you might be out at the first sign of trouble?

Garcia: The fact that I have been to the Pro Bowl the last three seasons, yet as soon as you are taken out of the game, people are drawing question marks. You are the guys that are creating that. It's not anybody else. It's everything happening right here that creates the controversy, creates the talk. Whatever sells papers, whatever sells the news, that's your job.

Q: How do you think fans out there are reacting to the situation?

Garcia: The armchair quarterback is the best coach and player out there, right? So they know best. They are going to express their situations or what they feel. It's just one of those things. I just will deal with it the way that I need to deal with it and drive myself the way I need to drive myself. And I'm very motivated to get back out on the football field and to help this team win, but until then Tim is going to be the guy and he's going to do a great job and I'm going to be supportive of him and I'm going to be right there in case I am needed.

Q: Will you be able to be back for the Green Bay game?

Garcia: I would think the way I am feeling today that Green Bay would be very much a starting point for me, as far as being able to get back out on the field. That's what I am really pacing myself for, or what I am trying to work towards, is getting back for Green Bay.

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