Nobody knows the role of the backup quarterback better than Jaguars QB David Garrard, who served in that role for five seasons before getting a chance to start on a full-time basis in 2007. Garrard made the most of his opportunity, finishing with a passer rating of 102.2, third best in the NFL last year.
That's why Garrard came to the defense of Jaguars No. 2 signal caller Cleo Lemon, who struggled at times in the team's recently-completed OTAs.
"He hasn't really been down on himself which I think is a good thing. As a quarterback you have to be able to be that way," Garrard said. "You have to be able to take the bad. Bad is going to come, but you also have to be able to handle the good.
"He's really handled himself well. He hasn't shown in meetings or the locker room that he is upset with himself. We all want to make all the plays and make all the great plays, but as long as we can stay on an even plane, then we are showing we are good quarterbacks."
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio liked what he saw during the team's organized team activities this spring. Granted there were no pads, which limited the play between the offensive and defensive lines, but Del Rio saw enough to come away pleased with what will be his sixth team in Jacksonville this fall.
"I think you see that David Garrard and the step that he took last year, is something we think we can build on. I think he showed that by the way he's operated all spring," Del Rio said. "I believe we've added speed to our football team. I think speed off the edges with our young defensive ends (Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves), with Drayton Florence in the secondary and with Troy Williamson and Jerry Porter at wideouts, I think we've added speed to our football team. That's been evident all spring."
An area of concern that the Jaguars may not have addressed as fully as they had hoped to during the draft and free agency, deals with the lack of depth at defensive tackle. The club traded Marcus Stroud to Buffalo for a mid-round draft pick with the Jaguars of the belief they had gotten their best days out of the three-time Pro Bowl player.
The seventh-year veteran started three consecutive Pro Bowls (2004-06) but missed out on a fourth trip when injuries limited his play to just nine games last year.
That could open the door for Tony McDaniel to battle free-agent pickup Jimmy Kennedy for a spot on the second team line adjacent to Derek Landri and behind starters John Henderson and Rob Meier.
"It's a great opportunity for Tony. We believe the arrow is going up with him," Del Rio said. "We're counting on him being part of our rotation right now.
"Jimmy's here with a chance to fight for a spot and he's got a chance to kind of change the course of his career."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's football, man. It's grueling, hot, everybody pounding each other, so I think it's going to be pretty hard." - Jaguars rookie defensive end Quentin Groves, upon the completion of the team's organized team activities, was asked how tough training camp will be when it starts in two months.
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