The post-Brunell Jaguars have always struggled to find consistency under center. Byron Leftwich's injuries and poor mechanics led to him being a the first in a long proud line of first round busts. David Garrard had several opportunities to unseat Leftwich, but always managed to spectacularly fail when the job was in his grasp. However, in 2007, David Garrard morphed into one of the most effecient quarterbacks in the NFL. Then, after signing a massive contract, he morphed back into the inconsistent QB from 2004-2006.
There has been a lot of interesting comments centered around the Jaguars quarterbacks over the last few weeks. It all started when Jack Del Rio made his infamous comments on Jim Rome is Burning that David Garrard wasn't "elite" and "needed good players around him." While these comments would be responded with "duh" to many in the fanbase, for a head coach to make them is practically unheard of.
Comments were late made by GM Gene Smith and several others regarding the Jaguars plans for Luke McCown in 2010. The Jaguars clearly are willing to give him a shot to prove himself in the coming off-season. This also doesn't preclude the team from adding another QB via the draft or free agency (I'm looking at you Brady Quinn.)
What is the situation looking like in the longterm for the Jaguars?
Despite being a "Pro Bowl" quarterback last season, it has become increasingly clear the team's patience in Garrard is wearing thin. His comments to the Times-Union earlier this week, that he needed to "outplay Luke McCown" to keep his job made that clear enough.
After having an excellent season in 2007, David Garrard has morphed back into the schizophrenic quarterback that could never quite unseat Byron Leftwich in 2005 and 2006.
Between the team's comments about Luke McCown and the rumblings of looking at different QBs in the draft, David Garrard has to know the writing is on the wall. He has to recapture the poise and skills that he had in 2007 in order to keep his job as the Jags starting QB. The recent reports that Garrard has contacted fellow AFC South QB Peyton Manning about off-season development tips shows that he is serious about doing this.
However, in addition to his QB play, Garrard is also due a massive salary in 2010. It is almost a certainty that the Jaguars will ask Garrard to take a pay cut.
The McCown bandwagon has been gaining some momentum, and I can't exactly figure out why. McCown has a 1-6 career record as a starter and his actual statistics haven't been that great either. Granted, his does seem to have all of the physical tools, but what would Luke McCown bring to the table Garrard already doesn't?
He could catch fire in training camp this summer and Garrard could continue his downward spiral, which could lead the Jaguars to make a switch. However, is there any evidence that it could happen? I don't believe so. McCown is a solid backup QB, but trying to have him be a starting QB would only lead to the Jaguars picking in the Top 10 again.
Other pieces to this puzzle could be added in the coming weeks. The most intriguing player on the market right now is Cleveland's Brady Quinn. While the Browns didn't sign QB Jake Delhomme, it is still being reported Quinn is on the market. While Cleveland gave up a lot to pick him with the 22nd pick in 2006, if they are bringing in Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme over him, I can't see the Browns wanting much in terms of compensation.
The other piece could come from the draft this year. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Claussen could fall to the Jaguars at #10, or they could use a pick later on a QB like Tony Pike.
It's clear the Jaguars aren't happy with the current state of the quarterback position. However, what realistic answers are there to address the position? I think the best case scenario would be to get Garrard to take a paycut and see if he can regain his 2007 form. If not, the 2011 Draft is deep with QBs like Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker, Pat Devlin, and Christian Ponder. It would be easier to address the future of the position then.