He’s been great. And he’s been terrible.
Halfway through the season, David Garrard has rarely been in between.
In four starts the Jaguars have won, he’s completed 78.6 percent of his passes for 771 yards (and an 11.7-yard average) with 12 touchdowns and one interception. He has a 139.4 passer rating against teams that are now 8-24.
In three starts the Jaguars have lost, he’s completed 53.8 percent of his passes for 327 yards (and a 9.3 yard average) with one touchdown and six interceptions. He has a 34.6 passer rating against teams that are now 14-11.
I have long-believed the Jaguars intend to draft a quarterback in April for the first time since 2003 and plan on that guy being their centerpiece for the long-term.
The great version of David Garrard can make that difficult, though he’s due another $7.975 million base salary to go with a $25,000 workout bonus that gets him to an even $8 million.
“He’s been very good when he’s been good, and we just want to seek to have more of the good,” Jack Del Rio said. “… I think him staying upright and being decisive with the weapons that we have and the way that we’re utilizing him right now, we ought to expect to be a pretty good offense and difficult to stop. And so we’ll need him to play well, and when he has it’s been good for his rating, it’s been good for our football team.”
If he plays down the stretch the way he did against Denver, Indianapolis, Buffalo and Dallas, will they Jaguars be able to look at a top quarterback in the draft with the sort of needs they have in the secondary and on the interior offensive line?
It might be more difficult than if Garrard ends shakily.
We have to wonder if the great, or good, version of Garrard can show up regularly in the remaining games, which are against teams with a combined record of 36-29 and only include one team with a losing record, red-hot Cleveland.
I spoke with a person in the AFC with good knowledge of Garrard who gave me this assessment of him:
"He has a strong arm to make all the throws, he’s very strong in the pocket, he’s mobile and he’s got escape ability and run ability. His success is tied so much to the running game. As long as they can stay committed to the running game, he can be successful. But the other thing that happens, is when you make him one-dimensional, when you start putting points on the board against their defense then it’s all on him. And leading a one-dimensional offense is hard to do. Look at the way their defense is playing. You’ve got to look at that."
"His height is a disadvantage. Sometimes he’ll hold it or throw it away. I think in his best games, if he hasn’t been able to see it and be decisive, he’s taken off running."
"He reads one side of the field. Most quarterbacks do. When you’re talking about scanning the whole field you’re talking about the elite quarterbacks."
As for the run game -- the Jaguars have topped 100 in each of their wins, averaging 168.3 yards. They topped 100 in only one loss (Philadelphia) and average 92.5, 95.3 in Garrard’s three games.