- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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“Luke gives us the best chance [to win], Blaine [Gabbert] will be the backup and really those are the two best options we have as we enter Week 1,” Jack Del Rio said in a news conference that just wrapped up. “… Luke has come on. I think last year when he stepped into the San Diego game, he kind of saw that as his opportunity and he ended up getting injured.
“And we were excited about the camp he had had and the work he had done up until that point. He came back in this camp and really had a heck of a camp. He had the best camp out of our three quarterbacks. He’s earned this opportunity. His teammates have confidence in him. He’s out best option to win Sunday ... .”
McCown was a fourth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns, 106th overall, in 2004. The Jacksonville Jaguars got him from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sept. of 2009. He’s played in just 16 games with seven starts, with nine touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 74.8 passer rating.
Here is a scouting report from Scouts Inc.:
“McCown has a strong arm that has enough foot quickness and agility to extend the pocket and make plays on the perimeter. He is an adequate scrambler at best and does not feel pressure well, causing him to take more sacks than you'd like. He can be accurate given time in the pocket but will struggle when throwing on the move or on deep throws. He can manage a team and get some wins when surrounded by a strong ground game but is not apt to be a difference-maker when it's up to the quarterback to carry the team.”
How long can he hold the job for the Jaguars with a first-round pick in the mix?
“Blaine is a promising young quarterback that’s done a nice job in the five weeks he’s been here, but it’s an awful lot to process and really to become comfortable with in five weeks,” Del Rio said. “Really, he’s coming. He’s talented. We like the both of them, but we think Luke gives us the best chance to start the year …
“[Gabbert’s] a talented young man, his time will come. But right now he’s in a position where he has to earn it.”
A couple other thoughts:
The Jaguars didn’t have to come out and say it was a money decision. But failing to acknowledge that Garrard’s scheduled base of over $8 million was a mistake. Why not say he wasn’t playing like an $8 million quarterback, but that even if he was due $800,000 this would have been the football decision?
The team had a kickoff luncheon Tuesday afternoon, and Del Rio and general manager Gene Smith didn’t meet with Garrard until after that. Seems to me like things could have been timed better. They treated the quarterback well in his time with the team, but the end could have been smoother. Del Rio said Garrard was somewhat apologetic he wasn’t able to deliver.
The theme of the rationale for the move was that Garrard couldn’t get it going in the preseason. To echo my earlier sentiment: Smith and Del Rio should have already known what Garrard could and couldn’t do BEFORE camp, so they wouldn't have wasted a lot of their preseason playing Garrard with the first team. Smith said the team was STILL evaluating between Saturday’s cut down and Tuesday. What’s a few extra days do after nine years?