The Big Question: Is Garrard good enough?

March, 16, 2010
3/16/10
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NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Is David Garrard a good enough quarterback to help get the Jaguars to the next level?

[+] EnlargeDavid Garrard
Doug Benc/Getty ImagesDavid Garrard is a competent starter, but may not be the long-term solution in Jacksonville.
The recent debate over whether he’s elite was somewhat silly, since everyone knows that he hasn't been. Does Garrard have some skills? Sure. Has he won and taken his team to the second round of the playoffs? Yup. Have his protection and weapons been sufficient? Nope.

But that’s not enough to gain him a full endorsement, even as GM Gene Smith has indicated the team will move forward with Garrard and Luke McCown as their top two. Garrard locks in on receivers and lacks instincts at crucial times.

If everything goes right around him, he can make plays. But how often does an offensive snap find the 10 other players doing everything right? Not very often.

Garrard is better than a good share of NFL quarterbacks. Buffalo, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, St. Louis and Oakland would all be better off with him on their rosters, I believe.

Still, I have trouble seeing him as the long-term solution for Jacksonville.

(Here’s a column on Garrard from last summer with interesting insight from Dirk Koetter on what Garrard throws best.)

For a second opinion I went to the ever-reliable Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.:
"I am not sure what the logic is by Jack Del Rio to say those things in public, but I don't disagree. He isn't elite. It doesn't take much of a scout to see that. But, his protection also was not very good last year and overall throughout his career, his weapons have been substandard. I do love his athletic ability and his strong body. Can break tackles. Make plays with his feet. Buy time. Hurt a D as a runner. Above average arm.

"All those things are nice, but he doesn't get the ball out of his hands on time and is just average from an accuracy standpoint. Doesn't consistently put the ball where it needs to be or on time. At this point, I tend to think he is what he is and probably will not improve by leaps and bounds. That being said, I thought he was much better the past two years than he was in 2009.

"Could there have been an injury or three that we didn't know about? I do think he is starting material, but not in the upper half of starting QBs...so in the end, he is good enough to win with and be competitive with if his supporting cast is excellent, but he is also the kind of QB that you always look to upgrade upon. Tough situation to be in."

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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