Hey Jags – What the Hell?

Posted: September 7, 2011 in Jacksonville Jaguars
Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s no secret David Garrard’s days with the Jaguars were numbered the moment the team drafted Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the 10th overall pick in last April’s draft.

But cutting Garrard five days before the start of the 2011 season makes no sense to me. This isn’t a replay of what happened in 2007 when the Jaguars released starting QB Byron Leftwich nine days before the start of the season and named Garrard as their starter. By that time, Garrard had been in the NFL for five years, all with the Jaguars, and had started 18 games because of Leftwich injuries. Garrard had a track record, a solid track record, and Leftwich had not performed well.

No, there’s far more to this decision than thinking career backup Luke McCown is a better fit than Garrard.

It was strictly a football decision, both Coach Jack Del Rio and General Manger Gene Smith said. Both insisted they felt the Jaguars had a better chance to win this Sunday against Tennessee with McCown under center and Gabbert as his backup than Garrard, who they say is healthy.

I don’t think they really believe that.

It smacks as a financial decision, even though the team is well under the NFL salary cap. Del Rio and Smith both insisted several different times during a news conference that money had nothing to do with the decision. The Jaguars would have paid Garrard $8 million this season. He was not often a lesser contract. Both denied this was an attempt to spur an uninspired fan base to buy tickets.

Again, I don’t believe them.

Who knows how McCown or Gabbert will fare, but the odds are stacked against them.

McCown is a seven-year pro who has started a total of seven games, four of them as a rookie in Cleveland in 2004. He was released after one season and then spent four years in Tampa Bay. He has been with the Jaguars for the last two seasons, appearing in only four games.

Gabbert has tons of potential and will be the Jacksonville starter in the near future, but he has been a pro for exactly five weeks.

My gut tells me the Jaguars are playing for the future even though they were in the playoff hunt last year after 13 games. Does this mean Del Rio and Smith have decided their third-year offensive tackles are not as talented as they thought? That the receiving group is as weak as it appears? That the investment in new defensive players looks shaky?

For the record, no one should feel sympathy for Garrard. He’s made a lot of money as a Jaguar. He’ll continue to draw paychecks as an NFL player. I’ll guarantee you his phone has been ringing off the hook.

But the timing was strange, to say the least. It’s safe to say the locker room is divided right now. That can’t be a good thing five days before the season begins.


  1. They should go ahead and take Jack Del Rio out of his misery right now; as of the moment they cut Garrard, he was a dead man walking…PEACE.

  2. Deniro says:

    Though I heard that one player said, when asked if the players had lost confidence in Garrard, that “there was no confidence to be lost…”. That’s not good.

  3. Terri says:

    When are they going to get rid of Gene Smith? He is horrible and it was Tom Coughlin who brought in the talent to this team! I guess Gene and Jack will have their excuses all lined up for December…but a 7 year building at full price tickets isn’t really fair to the fans and Smith is a lousy talent scout!

  4. producewiz says:

    See ya Jack.Good guy,got rich as a head coach.Just couldn’t do it.See Ron Zook.

  5. Scott says:

    In my opinion, releasing Garrard give Jack one more year if he can’t get the Jaguars to the playoffs this season. If the passing game goes in the tank, Wayne Weaver cannot simply point to Coetter and Del Rio for the failure because he knows it was as much (if not more) a decision by Gene Smith as it was Del Rio to release Garrard.

  6. Will be back. Still thinking on how to reply to this insane event.

    However, you have to admit, this event got the Jaguars national exposure, like nothing in a long time. For sure, Fred Taylor’s retirement didn’t generate even one national yawn. Maybe they were tired of being ignored by the national media. National spotlight Sunday: Jaguars and Jacksonville.

    (Even Tim Tebow may sneak a peek at the game against the Titans Sunday.)

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