Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich, who has never been accused of biting his tongue, has once again brought up an old subject. Leftwich told Michael C. Wright of the Florida Times-Union that the QB controversy surrounding him and David Garrard lies squarely within the organization. Leftwich stated on Monday, “You got to understand it’s an environment that we created ourselves. I don’t think the environment has nothing to do really with me and Dave [Garrard]. I think it has something to do with the way things [have] been handled in the past.”
What Leftwich specifically is referring to is the way in which he was benched last season after sustaining a “mysterious” ankle injury two days before the Jaguars’ loss to the Houston Texans in October at Reliant Stadium. What is interesting in this event is that although Leftwich didn’t play very well in the game, team head coach Jack Del Rio said that the “injury” didn’t factor into Leftwich’s performance. Yet a day later, Del Rio changed his mind. As a result, Leftwich was benched for the next ten games (balance of the season), opting to use David Garrard instead.
Even Del Rio himself has admitted that the situation could’ve been handled differently, saying back in February that, “There were some awkward situations. Where it was awkward, I see that there would’ve been an ability to handle things differently.” For a coach who is supposedly a “player’s coach”, he certainly dropped the ball on this lack of communication. But all of this aside, one would think that Del Rio, like his counterpart south of him, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, is coaching for his career this season.
Certainly the Jaguars would have to, at the very least, obtain a wild-card playoff berth for Del Rio to keep his job. I personally would hate to see Del Rio lose his job on account of a so-called “QB controversy”. And certainly Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver is sick and tired of being shut out of the playoffs, despite the fact that the team plays in arguably one of the weaker divisions in the league. We’ll see whether this “QB controversy” comes back and rears its ugly head this season, so stay tuned.