The Inside Scoop: QB David Garrard

To get the lowdown on the Dolphins' latest free agent acquisition, we checked in with JagNation.com publisher Charlie Bernstein. Check inside to find out what Bernstein had to say about quarterback David Garrard.

David Garrard began his career in Jacksonville in 2002 as Tom Coughlin selected him in the fourth round. Coughlin was fired following that season and the new front office and coach decided a fresh start to the franchise was in order and Jacksonville selected Byron Leftwich in the first round of the 2003 draft, leaving Garrard to be a long-term backup.

After backing up Leftwich for the better part of two seasons, Garrard got his shot at the end of the 2005 campaign as he navigated the team to a 4-1 finish by mostly playing the role of game manager against subpar competition. Leftwich reclaimed the starting job once healthy and held it through Week 6 of the 2006 season when he broke his ankle. Garrard led the team down the stretch and the Jaguars were virtually no different.

Following a stellar 2007 training camp, then head coach Jack Del Rio rolled the dice and cut his former first-round pick to start David Garrard. Garrard led the team to an 11-5 season while throwing 18 touchdowns with just three interceptions and the team thought they had stumbled upon a franchise quarterback.

Garrard was rewarded, as was Del Rio with a new deal worth $60 million over six years. Once bestowed with the contract, Garrard put on weight and returned to the form that made him a backup quarterback. He navigated the team to a 5-11 finish in 2008, followed by a 7-9 finish in 2009 and finally an 8-8 season in 2010.

Last offseason, the Jaguars came to the realization that they were never going to be better than .500 with Garrard at quarterback and they traded up to select Blaine Gabbert. Due nearly $8 million in salary, Garrard was released just before the start of the regular season and didn't play a snap for any team in 2011.

At this point it's unclear how much game David Garrard has remaining. At 34 years old, his best seasons are clearly behind him but perhaps a year where he didn't take any hits could re-energize him. At his best, Garrard had very good athleticism and an adequate arm, but he struggles to read defenses and can't go from his first to second progression. Although athletic, he never had the mental grasp on the game for the team to run anything but the most basic of offenses.

Garrard was far from universally loved in his locker room as he routinely called out the offensive line for protection issues as well as the wide receivers. He rarely took responsibility for any mistakes which caused for a happy locker room the day he was released.

It's difficult to believe that Garrard could beat out Matt Moore for a starting job at this point in his career but his skill set should work best in Joe Philbin's system.


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