David Garrard Gets His Shot

The Jaguar QB has been waiting for this opportunity for years...

David Garrard is going to get his long-awaited chance to prove he can be a starting quarterback in the league.

In the wake of the injury Byron Leftwich suffered against the Arizona Cardinals last week, Garrard is likely to be the starter the rest of the season.

Coach Jack Del Rio first described Leftwich's injury as a broken foot, but then said, "I am not sure which particular bone, but it looks like he has a crack in the ankle."

Del Rio said the best case scenario would be that Leftwich would be out a month, but he added, "It could be worse."

Drafted on the fourth round of the 2002 draft, Garrard has started only three games in his career while backing up Mark Brunell and Leftwich.

He was 1-1 last year when he subbed for Leftwich for two games after Leftwich suffered a knee injury.

Garrard, who had taken just one snap in a game all season, was obviously rusty as he threw for just 115 yards and threw four consecutive incompletions after Deon Grant intercepted a Kurt Warner pass at the Arizona 32 in the second period.

But he didn't commit any turnovers and displayed his trademark scrambling ability as he ran six times for 61 yards.

Garrard came in with the Jaguars at midfield and threw three completions before running 16 yards for a touchdown on a bootleg to complete a 67-yard drive.

That was Jacksonville's only sustained touchdown drive of the game, as its other two touchdowns came on two big plays.

Derrick Wimbush returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Greg Jones ran 25 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter on the first play after the Warner threw an incomplete pass on fourth down.

Garrard said he just has to lead the team to victories and said, "I don't have to go out and be Superman.

"This is what you dream about as a kid. This is what I've been dreaming out as a professional athlete because I've been the backup my entire career, the chance to be able to finish the season and possibly take the team to the playoffs. You can't ask for anything better than that. I have to step up as a man and a player and do my job."

The Jaguars gave him a chance to seek a trade in the offseason, but they wanted a first-round pick in return.

When Garrard found out that no other team was willing to offer him its starting job or give up a first-round pick for him, he decided to stay in Jacksonville. He decided to give up unrestricted free agency at the end of the season in exchange for a contract extension that included a $2 million signing bonus.

Now is his chance to prove he can be a starter.

LAST WEEKEND: A kickoff return and an Arizona gamble that failed were the keys to the Jaguars' 24-17 victory over the Cardinals.

After the Cardinals got a third-quarter field goal to cut their deficit to 10-3, Derrick Wimbush ran the ensuing kickoff back 91 yards for a 17-3 Jaguars lead.

But Kurt Warner led an 81-yard drive that pulled the Cardinals to within 17-10, and on the next drive, the Cardinals faced a fourth-and-1 at the Arizona 40 with 4:33 left.

Coach Dennis Green decided to go for it instead of punting and trying to get the ball back.

When Warner's fourth-down pass was incomplete and Anquan Boldin got a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, the Jaguars got a first down on the Arizona 25.

On the first play, Greg Jones ran 25 yards for the touchdown to make it 24-10.

Still, the Cardinals weren't done. They put together a 77-yard touchdown drive to make it 24-17, then got the ball back and reached the Arizona 36 with 32 seconds left.

On third down, Akin Ayodele hit Warner, knocked the ball out of his hand, and Rob Meier recovered to clinch the victory.

The Jaguars (8-3) have won four in a row for the first time since 2000.

They're likely to get a wild-card playoff spot to end their five-year playoff drought, but they'll probably go into the playoffs with David Garrard at quarterback.

The OBR Top Stories