Lemon Getting Squeezed

The Jaguars quarterback situation is far from ideal, as they have a 31-year old franchise signal caller who made rookie mistakes a year ago, and a backup quarterback in Cleo Lemon who has won as many regular season starts as most of the fans in the stands. In hopes to make the position a little stronger, the team signed veteran journeyman Todd Bouman earlier this week.

"They called me a few hours after I got released in Baltimore," Bouman said of the Jaguars. "I was excited to come back."

Todd Bouman (Getty Images)
Bouman isn't expected to be any team's savior, as the 36-year old, 11-year pro from St. Cloud State is the very definition of a journeyman. This is Bouman's second stop in Jacksonville, as he was signed as a third-string quarterback back in 2007 when David Garrard went down for a few weeks with his ankle injury. Aside from his brief stint(s) in Jacksonville, Bouman has played for the Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams, and Baltimore Ravens, where he served as a backup to rookie Joe Flacco last season.

"It's no different for me than it's been the last 12 years," Bouman said of his role. "It's been an interesting road. I got lucky my first six years; I got to stay home and play in Minnesota. Since then, I've never felt comfortable. You go in, work hard and see what happens."

The question that is on the minds of many Jaguars fans is, why did the team sign Todd Bouman? The quick and easy answer would simply be the performance of Cleo Lemon forced them to do something. Lemon's career numbers aren't much different from Bouman's, as Lemon has completed 211 of 379 career throws (55.7%) for 2,185 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions for a quarterback rating of 71.8. Bouman has completed 129 of 230 throws (56.1%) for 1,683 yards, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for a quarterback rating of 75.3. Still, anyone who witnessed the Jaguars mini-camp session a few weeks ago saw Cleo Lemon struggle mightily with nearly every aspect of the quarterback position. Some of it could be rust, but it appears as if Lemon simply doesn't have the skills to succeed at the quarterback position on the NFL level.

Another question that begs to be asked, is why didn't the Jaguars bring in a younger, more talented veteran quarterback such as a J.P. Losman or a Rex Grossman? We have an answer, but it's not a very good one. Bouman is somewhat familiar with the Jaguars system, as he spent time in Jacksonville in 2007, as well as most of the 2008 training camp. Perhaps they believe that Bouman can adjust sooner to the offense and both he and Lemon can be evaluated solely on their talent level.

What we believe to be the real reason that the Jaguars didn't sign a younger quarterback such as Losman or Grossman is that the team wanted to avoid any potential controversy regarding their starting quarterback situation. Both Losman and Grossman were former first-round picks and it's possible that the fanbase could turn on David Garrard at the first sign of trouble with younger, once perceived to be more talented players on the pine.

Competition is usually a good thing. Competition is what helped propel David Garrard to win the Jaguars starting quarterback job in 2007. Without any competition last year, Garrard gained weight and settled into a comfort zone to the tune of 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The Jaguars apparently believe that competition is a good thing, just as long as it's at every position aside from starting quarterback.

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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