The sports community got rocked last week when the Jacksonville Jaguars announced that they have cut ties with veteran quarterback David Garrard.
This news came as a shock to many Tuesday, September 13, after Garrard started three of the four pre-season games this summer. This may be the first steps to the “Blaine Gabbert Era”, but Jags fans will have to wait and see. Much of the shock comes from the fact that Head Coach Jack Del Rio remained steadfast, through all the summer workouts and tune-up games, that Garrard was his starter.
Garrard was drafted in 2002 out of East-Carolina University by the Jaguars but didn’t start quickly due to the selection of Byron Leftwich in the 2003 draft. Garrard, who would have been entering his 10th season with the Jags, was set to make $9 million this year. The coaching staff expressed that they had grown tired of Garrard’s “inconsistent” play. While he has had some shining moments, Garrard still lacks the consistency they would like. Del Rio’s job may too soon be in jeopardy if the team doesn’t reach the post-season, something they haven’t done since 2007. Coach Del Rio called the release of the veteran QB a “pure football decision”.
With the season opener looming just days away, Luke McCown was named the starter. Many believe the dispatch of Garrard paves the way for rookie first round draft pick Blaine Gabbert. The 10th overall draft pick in this springs draft is listed second now on the depth chart behind McCown.
This whole situation might create a sense of déjà vu for Jags fans, as this is exactly what happened to then-starting QB Byron Leftwich. After the final preseason game in 2007, Leftwich was cut in favor of David Garrard. That season Garrard posted good numbers, throwing 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions as he led the Jags to the playoffs.
Since that playoff appearance there has been nothing but inconsistency and Jags fans have been left saying, “what if”, and, “we’re almost there”. That being said, no matter what the situation may be, one person’s end is another person’s beginning.
Seeing that Gabbert’s time may be upon us shortly, all we can do now is gaze at the “Garrard Era” and ponder what could have been. After his promising first season as a starter that included a playoff birth, David Garrard’s play was average throwing fifty-three touchdowns and thirty-eight interceptions. All the blame cannot fall on him though, in the three years since his impressive first season as starter he has been sacked 117 times. If your quarterback is on the ground a lot, you are not winning many ball games.
David Garrard will likely find a new home somewhere in the league. There is always a need for a strong veteran presence at the quarterback position. He fought to get where he is today and will continue to do so wherever he may land. After all, he is a former pro-bowl quarterback. The Jaguars moved up in the draft to select Gabbert so if things don’t go Luke McCown’s way, look to see the youngster out of the University of Missouri under center sooner then previously thought.