Jacksonville Jaguars: David Garrard

Jaguars best & worst: Round 4

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The upcoming NFL draft will be the 20th in Jacksonville Jaguars' history, not counting the expansion draft.

To commemorate that milestone, I’m looking back at each draft and giving you the best and worst selections in each round. Today is the fourth round, and the first round will appear on Tuesday, April 15 -- appropriate since that is the day taxes are due, and first rounders make the most money.

These rankings are based on what the player did with the Jaguars. If they failed to produce with the Jaguars but had success somewhere else -- whether they left as free agents, were cut and caught on somewhere else, or traded -- that’s a negative.

I’m expecting some disagreement, which is fine. Your feedback is welcomed (click the email link at the bottom), and I’m going to post some of the best comments (read: those without profanity) on April 16.

Here we go ...

Round 4

Best pick

This was another easy choice: Quarterback David Garrard, the 108th overall player selected in 2002. After sharing time with Byron Leftwich, Garrard became the Jaguars’ starter in 2007 and went on to become the second-leading passer in franchise history (16,003 yards). He holds team records for career completion percentage (61.6), consecutive passes without an interception (209), and consecutive completions (17). He also ranks second in touchdown passes (89), attempts (2,281) and completions (1,406).

Garrard’s crowning moment came in an AFC Wildcard game at Pittsburgh. Garrard atoned for an interception that led to a Steelers touchdown late in the fourth quarter by scrambling for a 32-yard gain on fourth-and-2 that led to Josh Scobee's 25-yard field goal that gave the Jaguars a 31-29 victory.

Garrard’s career in Jacksonville came to a bizarre end when he was cut just days before the 2011 season began after attending a season kickoff banquet.

Honorable mention

DT Seth Payne (1997) played 10 seasons in the NFL and recorded 8.5 sacks in his five seasons with the Jaguars.

WR Mike Thomas (2009) caught 171 passes for 1,768 yards and six touchdowns in 52 games for the Jaguars before being traded to Detroit midway through the 2012 season.

WR Cecil Shorts (2011) has caught 123 passes for 1,786 yards and 11 touchdowns in three seasons with the Jaguars. Injuries have kept him from playing a full season.

TE George Wrighster (2003) caught 94 passes for 850 yards and nine touchdowns in six seasons with the Jaguars.

TE/WR Ernest Wilford (2004) played in the NFL for seven seasons (six with Jacksonville, one with Miami) and caught 156 passes for 2,145 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Worst pick

General manager Shack Harris took end Brian Smith with the 113th overall pick in 2007 even though Smith suffered a broken hip during his senior season at Missouri. Smith spent his rookie season in the PUP list and was waived in June of 2008.

Honorable mention

DT Kevin Landolt (1999) played in one game as a rookie before being waived.

OT Joey Chustz (2000) never played in a game and was cut less than a year after being drafted.

TE Chris Luzar (2002) caught four passes for 35 yards in 23 games with the Jaguars.
Blaine GabbertAP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackBlaine Gabbert went just 5-22 as a starter in three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars are Chad Henne's team now.

General manager David Caldwell, head coach Gus Bradley and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch are confidently putting the offense in Henne's hands. It's not exactly handing the keys to Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but it is the correct move for the Jaguars to make.

That's why the team traded Blaine Gabbert to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft and possibly a conditional pick in 2015. Caldwell said the move was more about the franchise's confidence in Henne than Gabbert's struggles.

"When we signed Chad, we made a commitment to give him a starting position and build around him," Caldwell said shortly after the trade was announced on Tuesday afternoon. "We felt like he was going to be a starter and there is a possibility we would draft a young quarterback in the draft somewhere along the line and he would come in and be the backup and learn behind Chad.

"That left Blaine to compete for that and I just felt like it was a good opportunity for us to move on and possibility get a draft pick for someone who can come in and help us this year instead of a backup quarterback."

Gabbert obviously wasn't in the team's plans once Henne signed a two-year extension last week. However, trading the former first-round pick is a shrewd move because Caldwell was able to get something for a player he was likely going to cut at some point. Plus, it frees up $3.82 million in cap space.

While the trade obviously excites fans that have been extremely critical of Gabbert, it also is an example of what can happen when you put a quarterback on the field before he's ready. Not only will he struggle, but it can set your franchise back years.

[+] EnlargeChad Henne
AP Photo/Jack DempseyChad Henne completed 60.6 percent of his passes last season for 3,241 yards. He had 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Caldwell and Bradley gave Gabbert every chance to succeed in their first season in Jacksonville. Despite Gabbert's poor play in his first two seasons -- 21 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and a 5-19 record as a starter -- both gave him a clean slate in 2013. He played well enough in the preseason to win the starting job.

But injuries, as they did in his first two seasons, affected his progress. He suffered a fractured thumb in the second preseason game and played through the injury in the season opener before suffering a cut on his hand. He missed two games, came back in Week 4 and suffered a hamstring injury in Week 5. He never saw the field after that.

When he did play, he was awful, completing just 48.8 percent of his passes and throwing one touchdown and seven interceptions -- including three returned for touchdowns.

Henne didn't tear it up, but he was consistent and kept the offense out of bad situations. He made a handful of plays, including tossing the winning touchdown pass against Cleveland with 40 seconds remaining, and Caldwell believes with better offensive line play, more weapons, and another year in the offense Henne will be much better.

Caldwell didn't want to talk about why Gabbert didn't succeed in Jacksonville and that there is never just one person at fault in such a situation. He's right. There are two who bear more fault than anyone else: Jack Del Rio and Gene Smith.

Smith traded the Jaguars' first-round pick (No. 16) and second-round pick (No. 49) to Washington to move up six spots to take Gabbert with the 10th overall pick in 2011. The Jaguars' starter that season was supposed to be David Garrard, who was in the fourth-year of an seven-year, $60 million contract, but in a surprise move the team released Garrard just five days before the 2011 season opener.

Luke McCown started the first two games, but Del Rio made the switch to Gabbert for the final 14 games. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Gabbert clearly wasn't ready to be the team's starter and he never seemed to recover.

He went 5-22 as a starter and the team has won just 11 games in Gabbert's three seasons.

Caldwell has had nothing but praise for Gabbert, especially in the way he handled being demoted, and said he likes the former Missouri standout. That's partly why he sent him to San Francisco. He knows GM Trent Baalke, it's a stable organization, and there's no pressure.

"I know we're sending him to a good situation," Caldwell said. "That's what I told him at the end of the year. I said, ‘If something did come about, I [would] try to send you to the best situation possible.'"

It turned out that way -- for Gabbert and the Jaguars.

RTC: Weird season for Chad Henne

October, 11, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Chad Henne isn't the Jaguars' starting quarterback but he's played more snaps than Blaine Gabbert in the first five games.

That's just another example of how unusual the 2013 season has been for Henne, writes Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union.

"This year has been kind of weird," Henne told Stellino. "You never know if you’re going to be the starter or coming into the game. When I do come into the game [when Gabbert was injured in the Kansas City and St. Louis games], I don’t get any reps [in practice]. Obviously I don’t make any excuses, but there’s definitely determining factors out there and I try to play my best at all costs."

Henne will make his third start of the season on Sunday when the 0-5 Jaguars play the 5-0 Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium. He could hold onto that job for another week or two because of Gabbert's left hamstring strain, or he could be right back on the bench if Gabbert is cleared next week. It's a roller-coaster ride and Henne is never sure where the dips and loops are.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars content from around the Web in our daily Reading the Coverage feature:

Kicker Josh Scobee says he's going to take advantage of the lighter air in Denver and try an 80-yard field goal in pregame warm-ups.

Former Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio is Denver's defensive coordinator. Linebackers Russell Allen and Paul Posluszny told the Times-Union that they enjoyed playing for Del Rio.

Former Jaguars quarterback David Garrard has re-joined the New York Jets.

Everyone assumes that Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will leave school after this season and enter the 2014 draft. He isn't saying, but in a Sports Illustrated piece Bridgewater's mother kind of let the cat out of the bag. She said she hoped her son -- a likely candidate to be the Jaguars' top pick -- has a good season and then does what he needs to do to prepare for the draft.

Here's a roundup of items from this blog: the weekly mailbag; Cecil Shorts did not practice Thursday but he will play against the Broncos; tight end Clay Harbor surprises as a blocker; the stat of the week, which shows that Henne does a better job throwing to Shorts and Justin Blackmon than Gabbert.