Open Competition?

Everyone knows quarterback in Jacksonville is a hot topic, be it the draft or comments about the current starter by the owner, general manager, and head coach. However, there have been some recent comments made by the quarterback and others in the organization that have got to make you think. Is there an open competition at the quarterback position?

It's no secret that current Jaguars starter David Garrard has struggled the last two seasons. He's been called out by head coach Jack Del Rio and even subtlely by the current general manager Gene Smith in the form of backhanded compliments. David Garrard even admits it himself. Something he told the Florida Times-Union yesterday after a Team Teal rally at City Hall however, made me stop and think.

"I'm not stupid. I'm not naive. I definitely need to go in and play my best," Garrard told the Florida Times-Union. "Competition is always healthy and always a good thing. If I can't do enough to outplay the guy that is backing me up, then absolutely it should be his job."

Absolutely it should be his job?

Is David Garrard saying there's an open competition?

Along with that quote from David Garrard there was a comment made by a team reporter in a daily fan question forum, "I think we're all underrating Luke McCown. That's a mistake. He has a good arm, nice size and a feel for the position. I'm gonna keep my eye on him this spring. You never know when a guy might make a move."

You never know when a guy might make a move?


Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but these seem like subtle hints. Back in 2007, similar things were said in the off season after Byron Leftwich was declared the starting quarterback in February. Gene Smith has also said something to the effect of expecting a rookie to come in and beat out David Garrard and/or Luke McCown is unrealistic. What is realistic is that the Jaguars are likely to ask David Garrard to take a paycut at some point before the season starts. The question now is, when will that come? Will it come after training camp on the eve of final cuts or will it come a week before rosters are set in stone at the start of the season?

It seems that there may be a little competition brewing, and the Jaguars might be exploring their quarterback options within their own roster. Luke McCown was always an interesting option for Tampa Bay and usually looked the part in the preseason, much like Garrard did in the past as a back up. It will be interesting to see what happens if Luke McCown performs close to David Garrard, we've seen that scenario playout once before. The Jaguars cut one quarterback in favor of a close playing back up to save $5 million in the past, could it happen again to the tune of $8 million?

Training camp should be entertaining this summer.

Alfie Crow is a contributor to and also the co-host of CB Sports Radio on ESPN 1420 in St. Augustine, FL. You can contact him at or follow him on twitter @alfiecrow

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