Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC South [Print without images]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Del Rio focused on getting weapons for Garrard

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

In his breakfast sit down with reporters early Tuesday, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said plenty to indicate he and the organization firmly back David Garrard as starting quarterback, and that getting him weapons is a priority, perhaps the team's biggest.

Here are the most pertinent pieces of the conversation:

Assessing the talent level and reflecting on first round receivers Reggie Williams, a free agent the team won't pursue, and Matt Jones, who was released:

"The cupboard's not bare. We just need to add to the talent. We need to add the right kind of guys, and we certainly need to hit on a few guys. We've got a few holes that we need to address. Clearly, I think we have two or three receivers [on the team] right now, so we've got to add some receivers. Everybody sees that. But it's early. We haven't even gotten to the draft yet. We'll really use every available tool to fill that and look to be better. We really think there's an opportunity. We took the receivers high, Reggie and Matt, and for the last four years we've been really working, hoping to develop them, hoping they would become the guys.

"That attempt is no longer part of what we're doing. So we can spend our energy now on shifting gears and acquiring and developing guys that will have a chance to develop. Hopefully, they'll develop a whole lot quicker. But we think it's an exciting time. I know David, he almost wants to turn into a scout. He's like, 'Coach, I'm watching these guys now. I've got a bead on a few of these guys.' I think he's kind of excited about getting a few good players in."

On seeking the next level for Garrard and missed opportunities in finishing games:

"Not 100 percent of the time. I think if you look at our two early-season wins, big wins, at Indy and at Houston, David pulled us back and won the game for us. He's got that ability. Really, defensively, we didn't protect leads that he gave us late in several early-season games. I think David has done a heck of a job with what he's been dealing with. I think we've got to do a better job of getting him some players, some weapons. He's really not had that guy outside that if you get the ball in his hands, that he takes off and gets him some YAC and does some things for him. He's not had that. So, you look at two years ago when David was on fire, we set a franchise record for production -- offensive points scored in a season. And you're talking about when Tom [Coughlin] was there, they had some great offenses with [Mark] Brunell and Jimmy [Smith] and all those guys.

"David's capable of doing some good things. He's the right kind of guy. When you look at David, one thing that stands out to me: David is a guy who doesn't require a lot of room. He can operate in tight spaces, he's got a quick release and if a play breaks down he'll go burn you with his feet. So he's a guy that moves the chains. He's a guy that gets first downs, keeps the ball. You know, when you're playing teams like Indy, that's very important to move the chains and keep the ball."

On cutting ties with Matt Jones

I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about it. The biggest thing is that Gene [Smith] and I, and Wayne [Weaver] and Paul [Vance], we've really worked hard to evaluate our roster. Make sure that the things we have in place are going to be things that give us a chance going forward to be at our best. I think in that situation, really it became, 'Enough is enough.' We have been patient. Last year, the promise that he would become a better man, and that's my hope is to always have our guys be better people when they leave, spending their time with us in Jacksonville. His commitment to me was that he would not do anything to embarrass us -- his teammates, the organization -- in any way. You know, there was another occurrence. We just felt like enough was enough, and it was time to move on, for us and for him."

Asked specifically about Torry Holt and Marvin Harrison, Del Rio broadened the conversation, saying the team would explore all avenues -- veterans, draft picks and rookie free agents -- as it looks to replenish the roster at receiver.

"We're open-minded," Del Rio said. "Right now, the approach is to be patient. Not rush out because you have a lot of need, and rush out and overpay one guy and try to make him what he's not. We're going to take our time. We know there's a lot of opportunity sitting there. There will be a lot of interest for guys that want to get into that opportunity and make the most of it. We've got a good quarterback. We've got a healthy line coming back. We've got a good design with Dirk Koetter and what we do offensively. So I think there's a lot of opportunity there."