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Tuesday, September 6, 2011
What went wrong? What's next for Garrard?

By Paul Kuharsky

David Garrard
David Garrard never lived up to Jacksonville's expectations after the 2007 playoff run.
David Garrard is like a lot of moderately successful quarterbacks. He can have a great day or a terrible one on an NFL Sunday. If the blocking is just right and the routes are perfect, he can shine.

But a very low percentage of NFL plays go according to plan. And off plan, he did only one thing very well: run. It’s not been enough, and a guy who hit the mother lode because of a great showing in his first year as the starter in 2007 is now out of work.

The game -- and the play -- that made him came in Pittsburgh, when the Jaguars upset the Steelers on Jan. 5, 2008 to advance to a playoff game in New England. There they had a good, but not good-enough, showing in a loss to the Patriots.

Against the Steelers Garrard only connected on 9 of 21 passes for 140 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. His highlight was a 32-yard, fourth-quarter run on a fourth-and-2 that set up the game-winning field goal. In New England he fared better, with 278 passing yards, two touchdowns, one pick and a 100.3 passer rating.

That playoff showing got him a big contract, one that would have paid him $8.075 million this season. It also set big expectations.

He has not lived up to them with his inconsistent play. His defenders shout about the poor protection, the low-quality receivers and a defense that doesn’t get him the ball back enough. His critics say he doesn’t read the field well, can’t find people deep and cares too much about what they think.

There is truth in all of it. But ultimately a top quarterback has to overcome the distractions and he didn't overcome enough, even if he had little to work with.

I think moving on is the right move made too late. If Luke McCown or Blaine Gabbert is imprecise early in the season, we’ll say he may have been sharper with more preseason work with the guys that were playing beside Garrard.

The Titans don't hold Garrard in high regard, from what I know, and I don't think they are celebrating that he won't be on the field Sunday at EverBank Field.

Where does Garrard land?

Baltimore, Kansas City, Miami and Washington rank as possible destinations, according to a quick survey of my blog network brethren. While Seattle and San Francisco are shaky at quarterback, they are probably going to ride with what they’ve got, unless Garrard finds the third-string job with the 49ers appealing.