Jaguars QB Plan

Last season the Jaguars made David Garrard the team's starting quarterback after roughly four years of a quarterback controversy. To reaffirm his position following a great 2007 campaign, the team gave the 30-year old Garrard a six-year, $60 million contract with $21 million guaranteed. What now?

The youngest quarterback on the Jaguars roster is Cleo Lemon, at 29 years old. Lemon is not a developmental guy, just a backup with some starting experience; basically a guy who the team hopes can come in for a few weeks if starter David Garrard cannot go. To put it simply, the Jaguars have no "plan B" if Garrard can't be the franchise quarterback that they believe he is.

The Jaguars have made 40 draft selections since 2004, and not a single one of them has been a quarterback. It was understandable not to select Ben Roethlisberger in the first-round of the 2004 draft, as the team was trying to build around Byron Leftwich, who was just in his second season. But the Jaguars continued to protect their quarterback situation, as shaky as it was by passing and passing on quarterback after quarterback. Now ironically, after all that passing, they have trouble passing on the football field.

Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel, Tarvaris Jackson, Brodie Croyle, and Trent Edwards. Those are names of eight current starting NFL quarterbacks that the Jaguars had numerous opportunities to draft.

That last player, Bills quarterback Trent Edwards was selected by Buffalo with the 92nd pick in the 2007 draft. Edwards left no doubt after Sunday's performance in the Bills 20-16 victory over the Jaguars that he was the best quarterback on the football field. Edwards finished 20 of 25 passing for 239 yards and a touchdown, with a quarterback rating of 119.8.

"Not only did he take us down when we had to, but he also took us down in the midst of the heat and you know those guys were all dog tired out there and they were all sucking it up and they're all working hard to get through the game, but he's keeping them focused and moving and he's pretty good," said Bills head coach Dick Jauron of Trent Edwards. "We don't know how good he can be, but he gives us a chance. The throw to Lee was really a terrific throw when we needed to have it."

After years of ignoring the quarterback position when it comes to April's draft, the Jaguars are now left in a precarious position. They are a small market team without a ton of financial resources that have a long-term financial commitment to a 30-year old quarterback who is currently 25th in the NFL in quarterback rating. Further more, the Jaguars have the 29th ranked offense in the NFL.

Not all the Jaguars 2008 offensive struggles have been the fault of the quarterback, but David Garrard is being paid like a top-ten passer, and he has one touchdown and three interceptions on the season, including a horrible pick in the end zone right before halftime Sunday that cost the Jaguars at least three points.

"Can't throw it," Del Rio frustratingly explained to reporters. "You just can't throw that pick. We're going to take a look in the end zone. If we like it, good. If not, it's got to hit a guy with a beer cup out there in the north end zone, knock the beer out of his hand and we'll kick the field goal. We took a look and we didn't execute."

Garrard explained his decision-

"I saw them in cover two and I was trying to throw it so my receiver could catch it or no one could. The ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage and sort of fluttered out. It definitely wasn't my intention to throw into coverage. We wanted to come away with points, but I've got to take responsibility for that one. You never want to make a throw like that, but stupid happens."

Following a year in which there was an open quarterback competition that motivated and ascended David Garrard toward the top of the league in passing efficiency, the Jaguars took any and all competition away from the position. They removed some additional motivation by making Garrard one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league after just one good season. The team doesn't appear to have much of a "plan B", and they now have to hope for Garrard to revert back to his form of last season.

The entire Jaguars quarterback situation reeks of a tired cliché, "nobody plans to fail, they just fail to plan."


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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