With Jacksonville Jaguars David Garrard having surgery on his right middle finger this morning, the Jaguars announced yesterday that Trent Edwards will be the starting quarterback Sunday and beyond, if necessary (i.e. playoffs). For those who don't remember, Edwards was claimed off waivers when he was released by the Buffalo Bills and got some playing time against the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football when Garrard suffered a concussion. "I feel confident in him. I know he'll do a fine job," Garrard said of Edwards.
Back then, Edwards was only running plays he'd seen on paper and never actually ran before. He was able to move the offense down the field, but ultimately threw two interceptions. Fast forward to today, and Edwards grasp and understanding of the offense is far greater than it was then. "I think we all look to tailor our systems to fit the personnel that we have, and so we'll do that a little bit, but we're not going to depart too far away from who we are and what we are and what we've invested a lot of time in this year as a football team," head coach Jack Del Rio said about how the offense would change.
"It's an opportunity for me to show that I can still play the position, and I know I can. It's just a matter of now I get the opportunity to go out there and play a little bit more. I'm happy and excited, but we need to get this win on Sunday," Edwards said of his opportunity. Most feel this game Sunday is more than just a "fill in" role for Edwards and it could be an audition for his future in Jacksonville. Whether it be the future as a starter, place holder, or long term back up remains to be seen, but Sunday will have bearing on his future in Jacksonville.
"It certainly gives us a great opportunity to evaluate Trent further. We've seen him primarily in practice working our scout team and giving us some looks for the opponent, but he's been busy working the playbook," Del Rio said about Edwards, "When he first got here it was a crash course and he's been professional in everything he's done. I like the way he's approached things and so I think it's a great opportunity for him to show us what he has," Del Rio added.
David Garrard wasn't entirely sure how he re-injured his hand on Sunday, however. "I don't remember hitting it on anybody's helmet or hand but I do remember having to scrape off some yellow paint off of that knuckle so apparently at some point, somebody hit it," Garrard said about his injured finger. "Or it was the wear and tear of the game that just continued to make it worse. I thought after the game, just rehabbing it and icing it would allow it to come back," Garrard continued. Garrard didn't think his finger really impacted his performances the past two weeks.
"I didn't think so," Garrard said when asked if it impact his game at all. "I knew that it was getting worse. I just kept powering through it. You did see some of the balls I was throwing had a little bit more duck to it than normal, or a little less spiral than normal. That could have been because of the elements or the finger. I still thought the ball was coming out just fine."
I will note that this morning on 1010XL that Dr. Kevin Murphy of Heeken Orthopedic Specialists, an orthopedic surgeon who is a regular guest of Sports Final Radio to talk sports injuries, indicated the type of injury Garrard suffered is typically played through. Dr. Murphy explained that typically it is treated, taped up and can be played with and surgery is usually done prior to the season. Dr. Murphy didn't treat David Garrard personally, so the severity of Garrard's injury in relation to the typical is unknown.
Edwards played for Garrard after he suffered a concussion back on October 18th against the Titans. He finished 14 of 24 passing for 140 yards and 2 interceptions, he injured his thumb early in his appearance.