Sometimes in a relationship, the thing that was so wonderful about a person later becomes the thing that annoys you. “She is so spontaneous” later becomes “She never plans anything”. I think David Garrard is feeling a bit of that now in his relationship with the Jaguars and the fans.
I remember in 2005, David steps in for Byron and leads the team to the playoffs delivering a 5-1 record as a stand in. Byron goes down again in 2006 and David is again in the leadership position but throws 4 interceptions against Houston and three against the Titans which destroys the Jaguars chances of going to the playoffs. It not only destroyed the Jaguars chances, it almost destroyed David’s career.
David had it programmed into his head “throw interception, lose job”. Never did he tell himself “take a sack, lose job” or “don’t throw a touchdown, lose job”, it was always “if I throw an interception, I will lose my job”. This is what he worked on in 2007, hitting the receiver. He learned to not pull the trigger unless he was sure. His lack of interceptions gave him the quarterback rating above Peyton Manning and delivered multi-multi-millions of dollars. “Do not throw interception , make huge dollars”.
The Jaguars coaches and management, in a classic over reaction, gushed over David. He is so “coachable” they swooned. Not like Byron who refuses to take direction, David listens to us! See, we taught him to not throw interceptions. What is the first law of robot quarterbacking? “Do not throw interception”. What is the second law of robot quarterbacking? “Do what coaches say”. David was the perfect robot quarterback.
Last year they programmed this into David, when the defense shows a certain look, switch to a pass play. The third law was programmed in. The opponents caught on and would show the look and bait David every time into changing the play. Finally Maurice Jones Drew complained publicly “we are not a running team any more”. The third law had a flaw in it so there was a revision. Robot quarterback, obey the third law but the second law is higher. If we tell you not to change the play, it over rides the third law. Do not obey the third law if the second law is heard. Yes sir, “coachable” David is working sir.
After the scrimmage on Friday, Jack told the media he presented David with a new law, in the Red Zone, do not take the sack. The fourth law has been presented to the robot quarterback. Don’t worry folks, Jack is saying, I fixed the programming. The robot will evolve higher now, the programming is complete.
One time, Bernie Kosar the Cleveland Browns quarterback, ignored Bill Belichick’s sent in play and improvised a touchdown pass. He was fired the next day. Belichick didn’t want a human, he wanted a robot, bring in the terminator, Vinny Testaverde. Bill has learned that doesn’t work and he now has human quarterbacks. Just once, I would love to see David challenge the programming and improvise a touchdown. Just once I would like to see the human side of him engineer a drive. I would love to see a dynamic charismatic leader at quarterback. David Garrard iRobot won’t go against his programming.
David is not the leader of the Jaguars because he isn’t a leader, he is a classic follower and pleaser. He does what is instructed. Robots are not leaders. But let me ask all of you this, would Jack Del Rio tolerate a leader at quarterback? Could Jack handle a strong personality leading the team, one who threatened him as the leader? I think he could, if the kid could play. I think Jack and a good young quarterback could get along well. Every great coach needs a great quarterback. I think Jack understands that.
Luke McCown is not that guy. Luke looks more afraid to play than waiting for his chance. David is a durable strong guy who can get the job done, but not by much margin any more. It is time to seriously consider the next Jaguar quarterback. I just hope he is a free thinking human being who can lead. I love David Garrard for a lot of reasons but “being coachable” isn’t one of them.
- Terry O’Brien