Just when Jacksonville fans had written David Garrard off, once again he stepped up and got fan confidence back. Only a few weeks ago, after the loss to Tennessee, Garrard was at an career low. He had started the season great with great play against Denver. He then played some of the worst football of his career against San Diego and Philadelphia. Garrard gave us hope again versus the Colts and the Bills with more great play but at Tennessee things just went terribly wrong. Garrard started the game poorly and left the game with a concussion. After quality play by Trent Edwards and also Todd Bouman in the following game in which Garrard was forced to sit out of, the fan base was already making plans for the future. Many fans, including myself, had already started to look ahead to life without Garrard. A lot of us had talked about how we wanted to cut or trade Garrard in the off-season or possibly even release him during the season. Over the last 3 weeks though Garrard has once again come back from the brink. There are still 7 games left in this season so there is still a lot of things that could happen but for the second time this season David Garrard is winning us back over but this time he is doing it in impressive fashion.
Bad but not Terrible: When I started to go back over the loses that the Jaguars have suffered I realized that we really can only attribute 2.5 loses to Garrard. Now don't get me wrong, Garrard played dreadful in this time, totaling 6 INT's, 11 sacks and 1 lost fumble (Not including some poor decisions). I'm going to blame Garrard for the loses for San Diego and Philly, there is no excuse for that kind of play but I don't blame him for Tennessee. Yes, he started the game poorly and did not help our situation but he did not get to play 2 and half quarters of football. As we saw on Sunday with Matt Schuab, sometimes QB's come out of halftime a lot better. I think we as fans overreacted a little bit after the lose to Tennessee and Kansas City, immediately placing the blame of Garrard which I honestly feel now might have been unfair. Yes he deserves blame for the first two loses but not the second two.
Superhuman: If you ignore the games at San Diego, Philly and the quarter he played against Tennessee, Garrard is having one of the greatest seasons in franchise (maybe even league) history. He is averaging 2.8 Touchdown passes/game, 222.6 passing yards/game, a passer rating of 136.2 and 20 rushing yards a game. Those are superhuman numbers. Those numbers have lead to 5 wins where you can directly credit Garrard for helping if not winning these games for the Jaguars. A few weeks ago I was attacking Garrard but now that I really look into his play I think he should be in the running for league MVP and I will explain why. Every QB has bad games, even Peyton Manning has had two games where he has looked mortal (vs. Kansas City and Philly). David Garrard has had two and a half bad games but other then those he has played lights out and actually better then Peyton Manning at times.
The "Rebound": By now everyone has watched the Hail Mary pass from Garrard to Thomas (dubbed "The Rebound") a thousand times and can't get enough of it. This may be a corny play on words but "The Rebound" not only won the game for the Jaguars but it "rebounded" Garrard's image. Like I mentioned earlier, most fans had given up on David and moved on to looking to the future. Garrard though through his great play had started to win us back. It takes more then just amazing play in the NFL to win over a fan base, it takes excitement, a great personality, or a defining moment. Maurice Jones-Drew won us over with his great play and personality, though he is not having as amazing a season as we all hoped we still love the guy because hes a dynamic play maker and a great character. Garrard on the other had a lot of love from Jaguars fans following the 2007 Steeler playoff game where his 32 yard scramble won the game for us. It has been 3 years since that game and with his quality of play on a roller coaster and without any defining moments, we all gave up on him. Sunday's magical Hail Mary gave Garrard another defining moment where we all now remember why we like Garrard, because he does things like that.
Future still unknown: No matter what happens this season, the Jaguars will most likely still be drafting a new young QB in the upcoming draft. David Garrard's time as the Jaguars starter is going to end its just a matter of when that will happen. If he keeps this play up though he will keep extending his time and hopefully give his resume a couple nice achievements. 3 weeks ago the answer was simple, get rid of Garrard in some form at the end of the season. Now we need to figure out what we are going to do, Gene Smith has a decision, do we keep Garrard as starter while a young QB trains, trade him or release him. The better he plays the tougher this decision gets.
What would you do?