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As Garrard rests, Miller gets option snaps

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- David Garrard created a pre-practice buzz by pedaling a stationary bike off to the side of the field when the Jacksonville Jaguars started practice Monday night.

Turns out, the starting quarterback wasn’t nursing a new injury. He was just given a night off.

“When you’ve been here for nine years now and you’ve never had a night off in training camp, it’s going to look a little weird. What is going on?”

With Luke McCown running the first team offense, Trevor Harris also got more work. And the team worked some on the option. McCown took a few snaps of that, with tight end/ swing man Zach Miller getting four or six.

I asked Garrard for a critique of Miller: “You know what? He does a good job of running the ball. I’ve yet to see him throw a pass from behind center. I am sure he can do it…”

Responded Miller, with a good laugh: “Ask if we are indirectly telling Dave something.”

Garrard, a very good running quarterback, said he kidded with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter about what was up with running option plays without him, but then found a silver lining.

“There were actually a couple shots out there that Luke might have had to find his mouthpiece on a couple times, so it might be a good time to take a night off,” Garrard said.

Miller spent the offseason working his way back from a mid-foot sprain of his left foot. It just needed time, he said.

He smiled given when the chance to talk about playing some quarterback, which was his position at Nebraska-Omaha, but didn’t want to get into forecasting how much he will get into meaningful games.

“I can’t say if it’s going to be a lot, a little or none at all,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s something I’ve done my entire life. There are things that I still need to fine tune, steps and stuff that were so natural to me. I know I need to do and do and do it if it’s going to be something we’re going to do.”

And, he said, there will have to be a throw in there somewhere to sell it, to make defenses play it honestly.

He ripped off his gloves and threw them aside on the turf a few times when he ran onto the field to be the quarterback, then searched them out after the play. He’s not comfortable throwing with them on, and he’s not comfortable catching with them off. That will need to be smoother in a game situation or else teams will know when he’s about to switch roles.

Miller is one of the players around the league -- post-Wildcat -- who’s looked at as an X factor, a could-be quarterback in a change-up set.

He likes the idea, but said he’s going to have to earn chances to play more than tight end.

“Everybody can speculate, but I’ve got to work on it to get there,” he said. “If that’s the case, I’m going to do what I’m asked and have a lot of fun doing it. I want to hope that [Koetter] is getting close to making part of what we do, but I can’t feel comfortable. If I can’t do it, if I get in there and mumble and bumble around, even in the huddle…

“I feel confident in the huddle. I feel confident calling plays, I feel comfortable with the steps. If I can sell him on that, and make him comfortable, then maybe it’s something we can do.”