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Monday, May 3, 2010
Could McCown press Garrard?

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- I talked on and off the record with high-ranking people here, and none of them were trying to get any message about Luke McCown out to me.

Jack Del Rio said while there is competition everywhere, it's safe to presume certain guys will be in the lineup, that Maurice Jones-Drew will be the tailback, that David Garrard will be the quarterback.

Nevertheless, the sideline buzz through five minicamp practices has been very much about how smooth, confident and accurate McCown looked, and how it contrasts with the still spotty David Garrard.

Working with his back to his own goal line, Garrard had a terrible throw batted down at the line and grabbed out of the air by Scott Starks who scored with it. Soon after, the quarterback led his intended receiver too much, overcompensating for the earlier mistake, I thought.

Can the hard-working McCown press Garrard?

I don’t know. I do know that Garrard’s thought about it, because earlier this offseason he discussed a scenario where McCown could be to him what he was to Byron Leftwich in 2007 -- a guy who makes the team’s officials change course at quarterback.

This is going to be a run-driven, defense driven team.

Gene Smith is building from the inside out and will have a solid framework in place for 2011, when the draft -- held with or without a lockout -- is expected to be loaded with quarterback talent.

Garrard or McCown could have a phenomenal year and I still expect Jacksonville to be getting itself a quarterback in a year.

I have trouble imagining Garrard is not the starter in the opener against Denver. But I could see McCown getting a shot if things go poorly along the way.

All the while, Gene Smith’s scouts will be watching the college crop of QBs more closely than ever.