After another short and ineffective outing running the Browns first-team offense Saturday night in Kansas City, Jeff Garcia said the preseason schedule has basically been a waste.
"It's very frustrating because I'm not seeing the things that I want to see on the field as of right now out of our offense and out of myself," Garcia said.
In his first season with the Browns, the veteran quarterback had hoped to use the preseason as an opportunity to gel with his new teammates and get comfortable in a new system. But in three preseason games, Garcia hasn't been given enough playing time to get in sync with his receivers. He has thrown a total of just 20 passes while never playing more than a quarter and a half in any one game.
"I know the main thing is that it's the regular season that counts and you don't want to risk injuries, but I also want to find my way," said Garcia, who has completed 12 passes for 100 yards in the preseason and is still looking for his first touchdown. "I want to be able to get out there and get dirty and try to make plays, and to have the opportunity to make plays. It's been too sporadic - We have to work on repairing the way we approach the start of the season."
Saturday's 21-19 win in Kansas City was particularly frustrating for Garcia, who expected to play into the third quarter in what is typically the most important dress rehearsal of the preseason.
"I thought I'd play a little bit more," said Garcia, who left the field for good with 9:03 remaining in the first quarter after completing 4-of-8 passes for a meager 37 yards in in just four offensive possessions.
The Browns intended to take Garcia out even earlier.
"(Offensive coordinator) Terry (Robiske) got me on the phone and asked if I was ready to come out," Garcia said. "I said, 'I haven't really done anything. I don't feel like I've even been in the game. I need at least one more series.' I got three more plays basically, and that was it.
"I expect more opportunities out on the field. It's one of those things where, yes, I've played the game enough to know how to play when it counts," Garcia said. "But yet when I am in a new situation and I am trying to get on the same page with my teammates and run an offense that I am new to, I think it's important to get those opportunities out there (in the preseason)."
After Saturday's game, Davis was asked if he was concerned with the lack of production by the No. 1 offense in the passing game.
"Am I concerned?" he said in a tone implying he was stunned anyone would even ask such a question. "No, I'm not."
Garcia guessed the Browns coaching staff could assume that, as a 34-year-old veteran, Garcia simply doesn't need as much work in the preseason, and it has been more important to keep him healthy for the regular season.
"But I have my own concerns, and I want to be able to iron those out with the bullets flying at me," Garcia said. "I'm going to continue to study and do the things I've always done and I know I will be prepared to make this offense work. I'm just a little bit frustrated right now because I don't think it's operating the way it is capable of operating."
And Garcia knows he won't find an opportunity to work out the kinks in this week's preseason finale with the Chicago Bears. Typically, starters play little more than one series in the last exhibition game.
"It's not going to happen," Garcia said. "It's the last preseason game. The focus is now more on preparing for (the regular season opener with) Baltimore than it is for Chicago - I don't anticipate I'm going to get a whole lot of time. Probably something similar to what I've been playing. A little over a quarter."
That means Garcia will have to depend on practice reps during the next two weeks to build the type of chemistry with receivers starting receivers Andre Davis and Quincy Morgan, big-play threat Dennis Northcutt, and tight end Kellen Winslow that the Browns will need to compete with the Ravens. Garcia has yet to complete a pass to Davis in the preseason.
"The receivers and I have to get on the same page, and we need to find a way to give them opportunities to make plays," Garcia said. "I don't think they are really given those opportunities, especially when I've been in the game. Throwing the ball six or seven times a game just isn't doing anything for me or the receivers. I'm new to this offense. I need some opportunities.
"We've had three preseason games, and now it's just reps in practice to get ready for Baltimore because we haven't really seen enough time out there on the field to get anything going. At least, that's the way I feel."