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Jack Del Rio mum on QB situation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio is stretching out his quarterback decision.

Del Rio declined to name a starter for Jacksonville's game at Carolina, saying he's still evaluating Luke McCown's performance at the New York Jets.

There's a lot to assess. McCown threw four interceptions and was sacked for a safety in Sunday's 32-3 loss. He was benched in the fourth quarter, replaced by rookie Blaine Gabbert, and finished with the lowest quarterback rating (1.8) in franchise history.

"He kind of forced a few things," Del Rio said Monday. "You're not going to win many ball games when you're throwing picks like that. Not what we're looking for."

Now, Del Rio is contemplating a change. It's not a clear-cut decision. Gabbert struggled in the preseason and doesn't seem ready to take charge of a team Del Rio believes is capable of winning the AFC South. And switching after two games would essentially be acknowledging that Del Rio made a mistake by naming McCown the starter and cutting veteran David Garrard five days before the season opener.

"I know there's more inquiring minds want to know," Del Rio said. "There's really not a lot of benefit for our football team to sit here and play the speculative game with you all on what may or may not happen or when something may or may not occur, and so we're just not going to do that today."

McCown, making his ninth career start and second in four years, completed 6 of 19 passes for 59 yards in three quarters. Jacksonville ran the ball well and kept McCown from getting hit much, so there were few excuses for the interceptions.

"For whatever reason, felt a little short throwing the football," McCown said Monday. "It starts with me. The ball's in my hands first. Obviously, we all have to do better. But it starts with me, and I'm going to get it fixed."

If he gets a chance.

Gabbert completed 5 of 6 passes for 52 yards in relief. It's been clear since the Jaguars selected the former Missouri standout with the 10th pick in April that he would take over the offense. But coaches didn't want to put him in an adverse situation, given that the NFL lockout eliminated organized team activities and prevented Gabbert from meeting with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

The plan had been for Gabbert to sit behind Garrard, but Garrard was so ineffective in three preseason games that Del Rio decided to go with McCown. Nonetheless, the coach didn't expect anything close to what he got from McCown against the Jets.

Neither did McCown.

"You want to crawl under a rock for a little while last night," McCown said. "The great thing about having kids is they don't care how many picks you throw. I walk in the house and they were glad I was home. Today's a new day. I woke up this morning and the sun was there. ... It's another day to prepare and get better. As bad as it feels, it only counts as one loss."

It was the second-worst loss in Del Rio's nine-year tenure. And since he's widely considered to be coaching for his future -- team owner Wayne Weaver said the Jaguars need to make the playoffs for Del Rio to stick around another year -- it's reasonable to wonder whether he would want to put his fate in the hands of a rookie quarterback.

One thing is certain: Del Rio insists he has no regrets about parting ways with Garrard, who was released after throwing three interceptions in practice.

"You could go to last year's Week 2, Week 3 games and see some real eggs there, too," Del Rio said. "It's not like keeping David was going to be a guarantee that we wouldn't have substandard quarterback play. We had a bad day yesterday throwing the football. We've seen bad days here in the past. That's why the question comes, 'When is this talented rookie going to get his shot?' He will at some point. We're just not ready to discuss that today."

Del Rio told players to refer all quarterback questions to him. Receiver Mike Thomas weighed in anyway.

"From a receiver standpoint, I think you would want to know as early as possible," Thomas said. "Personally, you would hope that Luke gets a chance to redeem himself. I think you kind of always would prefer that a guy who has a bad game gets a chance to redeem himself.

"But everybody knows the situation around here, as well. You take a quarterback at 10, you know. Nine times out of 10, guys that are taken that high, they play. That's the situation."

While their quarterback is uncertain, the Jaguars will be without defensive end Aaron Kampman at least another week.

Kampman is making progress in his return from knee surgery, but he's still not ready to play. It will be the 17th game he's been sidelined for during the last three seasons.

Kampman says "we're making good ground, we're definitely climbing" on his rehabilitation. Kampman tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last November and missed the final eight games. The team has been cautious with his return, especially since he sustained the same injury to his left knee in 2009.

He is no longer wearing a full leg brace, but still has no timetable for his return.

The Jaguars have three sacks, two from Kampman's replacement, Matt Roth.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.