In Defense of David Garrard and why the Jaguars must wait for picking a new QB
By Zoltan Paksa
[Terry’s Introduction: I remember a classic cartoon phrase…
"That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more Popeye"
When I heard that as a kid, I knew it was time for Popeye to mop up the place. Zoltan sent me a twitter message recently compaining about the abuse David Garrard was taking. He basically said, that’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more. In response, he wrote this wonderful piece. I agree with him entirely. David Garrard is a fine quarterback and people like Pete Prisco are not looking deep enough. Good job Zoltan, let them have it!
All photos are from Yardbarker, a great source of sports pictures!]
In today’s NFL people give an exceedingly high amount of credit or blame to the QB. If the team achieves big goals, the fans believe and are told by some in the media, it is because of the signal caller and he is the best or one of the best in the business. If the team losses, the opposite reaction is encouraged, the one most often “found lacking” is the QB. I understand that reaction and mentality but it is not correct and we need to look deeper to see the truth.
Being the QB of the Jaguars has recently not been the best or easiest job in the NFL. Constant comparisions to Mark Brunell, Peyton Manning, or whoever is the QB for the Florida Gators or whoever is helping their fantasy football team win are made. So we know that David Garrard is always playing against very high and unrealistic expectations. I am not trying to make excuses for David, I saw his flaws and limits (not always consistent, not seeing the open WRs-mostly if those players are 3rd or 4th options, not exactly accurate with the deep ball, sometimes he has bad series of games just to name a few). I know all of the complaints and I totally agree with head coach Jack Del Rio’s words: “he is not elite”. But I agree with and think like Jack and Gene Smith, sure he is not Peyton Manning or Tom Brady; but he can be good enough to archive big things. David was elite in 2007, and not just the playoffs. Some critics say 2007 was a fluke from him… Really, a fluke? Let’s go back in time. Remember 2005 when he finished the season campaign; and played well enough (supporting by a very, very good defense) to lead this team in the playoff. In 2006 after Byron Leftwich was injured; he lead the Jaguars to big wins such as beating the Eagles in Philadelphia and then the Giants (when the Jaguars had their 100th regular season win; ironically beating a team which was coached by former Jaguars HC Tom Coughlin) Yeah he finished the year with a major meltdown against the Titans and the Chiefs. Both games looked ugly (Especially after the mind blowing and historic 44-17 against the Colts); and everybody, including the coaching staff, doubted he would ever be a starter in the league. Well he claimed the starting QB title in the 2007 preseason; where he outplayed his old teammate Byron Leftwich; and played his best season yet. By the way, the 2006 interception meltdown has never ever surfaced again. He scored 18 TDs with only 3 picks and a 102.2 passer rating. And how many pro bowl receivers did he have? NONE!.
He made the moment of the decade in the AFC Wildcard game against the Steelers with that 32 yard run at 4th & 2 in Pittsburgh. Then he was playing equal to Tom Brady against the Patriots in Foxborough as well. After that season he signed a very rich (and yeah I agree a bit overpaid) contract extension for 6 years, $60 million dollars that included $18 million in guarantees.
The contract is the reason people criticize him believing he has not delivered the championships or at least the divisional titles for his level of contract. So is it David Garrard that hasn’t measured up in the last two seasons? Let’s review, in 2008; he had a defense on the decline; no offensive line, and who were his receivers?As for protection, just ask a couple of highly talented QBs in the league how important is good protection is and how fast a bad O-Line can end your career. Ben Roethlishberger is the exception of the rule; not the rule. In 2007 David got sacked 21 times. In 2008 that number went up to 42…Still he played the entire 16 games; throwing over 3500 yards to how many pro bowl receivers? NONE!! Look, when Matt Jones is your best guy, and your offensive line is gone, well you guess the success that will produce. As for receivers, Vic Ketchman called that group the worst he ever covered in his 38 years. Hey Pete Prisco, was that on David?
David had bad games in 2008 but come on, do you really blame him? The whole team was not on the same page week after week especially after the bye week. In 2009 David had a brand new team. New receivers; new rookie tackles, everything about the team was different on offense. Does anyone remember that 33 new faces were on the team when the season ended? Again David’s protection was still not the best – 42 sacks; highest in the NFL. He had some bad games and yet he had game winning drives! He and his team in week 13 were the 5th seeded team in the AFC. For most of 2009, David (and Maurice Drew of course) was carrying this team! But then (except the 2nd Indy game) David and the team produced a 2006ish meltdown.
People are once again starting to question his abilities to be “The Man” I don’t doubt him for a moment and say we support David this year. Let’s review the options: What QB is going to ride into Jacksonville and make the Jaguars a contender better than David? How about drafting someone? In my opinion, you can’t take a real good QB in this year’s draft. Sorry; I see not one good QBs for Jacksonville right now who might be available when the Jaguars pick and would able to make a difference. I like the abilities of Jimmy Clausen; who is might be a much; much better QB then his predecessor Brady Quinn; but his attitude is against everything Gene Smith stands for.
A second Philip Rivers(I mean behaviour on and off the field) is not exactly the perfect guy to lead the “team of the good guys”… The others (McCoy; or Snead; or Dan Lefevour) are not the right players for the Jaguars.
Should we trade for an aging QB, give away the future for someone who has 1-2 years left in him? Really, you think that is a good idea? (I’m looking at the supporters of trading for Donovan McNabb)
Let’s talk common sense for a moment. David, just like Jack Del Rio, is facing a make or break year. If the team does not make the playoffs; (and they have a much more difficult schedule then last year to do that) one or both are most likely done in Jacksonville. Which is fine; they have the pressure; and if they fail (which I don’t want to see; because I don’t want to see my team failing) the Jaguars can choose David’s successor from maybe the best QB draft the NFL seen since a very long time (Jake Locker; Christian Ponder; Casey Keenum-who is reportedly a big favorite by Gene Smith; Ricky Stanzi; Ryan Mallett; Pat Devlin) . I see much more promise in next year’s crop than this year. In fact I’m already on the bandwagon for selecting a QB next year with the 1st rounder! It makes much more sense then trading very valuable pick or picks for an aging QB with issues with 1-2 years left in him. I share the mantra (“In Gene we trust”) so I think he will choose a QB among those signal callers who will make the Jaguars competitive for long time! NEXT YEAR! So bottom line is- for this season we stick with David. If he succeeds fine; if not (just like in Jack Del Rio’s case) the Jaguars have much; much more options to replace him next year. All we need is one last portion of patience for him. Let’s not rush into making wrong decisions or create a nasty environment for the team. The Jaguars are still rebuilding; every draft pick is needed (for this time to give a major boost for the defense – because unlike the QB crop the defensive prospects are looking more then promising!).
David did enough for this team to deserve our support. He has mine.
– Zoltan Paksa