Jaguars News and Notes

The banter among fans in Jacksonville as to whether the Jaguars should draft hometown hero and Florida Gators standout quarterback Tim Tebow got an answer in an unofficial poll of team season-ticket holders this week. During the team's first telephone Fan Forum with general manager Gene Smith on Tuesday night, approximately 800 season ticket-holders were asked if the team should draft Tebow.

Of those who voted by phone, 55 percent said no to drafting Tebow, while 45 percent felt the Jaguars should select the left-handed quarterback.

When questioned afterwards, Smith dodged providing fans an answer as to if the Jaguars would select Tebow.

"I'm not going to comment on where he's going to be drafted," Smith said.

Tebow has said, "It would be an honor and a privilege to play for the Jaguars. I've always been a big fan in following them."

One of the factors that may have helped steer Aaron Kampman to Jacksonville was his friendship with Jaguars center Brad Meester. The two players were high school teammates growing up in Iowa, and Meester's wife, Jamie, is Kampman's second cousin.

"Brad and Jamie are great people and to be able to come down here and ask honest questions and have great answers and to see that reinforced with our visit here, it made things continue to tilt (towards signing). I talked to my agent Neil Cornrich and said this was a good fit and let's see if we can make this happen.

"They (Brad and Jamie Meester) are a big asset for us, especially for my wife. We have been driving around looking at schools and that will be helpful for us in the transition."

Brad Meester had high praise for the Jaguars newest acquisition.

"What makes him special is the type of character he brings and his tremendous work ethic," said the Jaguars veteran center.

The Jaguars continue to make progress in their drive to sell tickets in hopes of avoiding the embarrassment of having seven of eight home regular season games and both preseason games blacked out last year. A Thursday night game against Indianapolis late in the season was the only home game shown on local television last season.

The latest numbers show that the Jaguars have sold 5,000 new season tickets this year compared to 400 at this time last year. In addition, about 35 percent of the 27,000 season tickets have been renewed, though Tim Connolly, who runs the team's ticketing department, said most of the fans renew at the last minute. The renewal deadline is March 19.

The team continues to schedule events on a monthly basis, inviting former season ticket holders and potential future ticket buyers to attend and greet team owner Wayne Weaver, coach Jack Del Rio and various Jaguars players who have been in attendance at different events.

While Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard has been the subject of some off-season criticism, there seems to be a good mixture of fans who are split on whether Garrard is the answer to the Jaguars needs at quarterback. Since the 2007 season when he posted a 102.2 quarterback rating, third best in the NFL that year, Garrard has tailed off to 81.7 and 83.5 ratings the past two seasons.

The good news for Garrard is that he appears to have general manager Gene Smith in his corner.

"He's persevered through a lot here," Smith said of his starting quarterback. "He has a physical skill set that doesn't limit the play-calling. He's very durable, has tremendous toughness and is a top competitor out on the football field. The best is yet to come."

But that doesn't mean that Smith is against selecting a quarterback in the upcoming draft, if there is one to the Jaguars liking and it meets their value selection with the pick.

"I would always look for a quarterback we could develop, but I'm not going to force it. Is it a position we'll look at in the draft? Yes, it is."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's the first significant injury of his playing career and he's ahead of schedule rehab-wise and he hasn't had any setbacks. It's a risk-reward situation. We felt the calculated risk was worth taking." Jaguars general manager Gene Smith talking about newly signed free agent Aaron Kampman, who is coming off ACL surgery in December.

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