Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio obviously is a betting man; as such, he looks like he is making what can be best described as a “job-on-the-line” decision. Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union is reporting that Del Rio has named quarterback David Garrard the starting QB over former incumbent Byron Leftwich. Del Rio informed both QB’s of the decision which was made on Friday and a news conference was hastily arranged to announce this development.
Because of this development, you can safely assume that Leftwich will be either traded or released well before September 9 (Week 1 of the 2007 season). One question that does come to mind is whether the Jaguars go with just two QB’s or sign either a veteran or practice-squad QB. That aside, let’s go back to Leftwich for a minute. Leftwich was drafted in the first round back in 2003 by the Jags. Leftwich was injured during the 2005 season; Del Rio despite that named Leftwich the starting QB in the playoff game vs. New England then was as recently as this past February named the Jags’ starting QB.
But apparently the writing was on the wall this preseason as Garrard clearly outplayed Leftwich the past 4 weeks. What is maddening about the whole situation (and perhaps a look at the possible incompetency of the Jags’ scouting department) is the fact that the team admitted they probably made a mistake in drafting Leftwich in the first place. That year (2004) they bypassed Ben Roethlisberger then in the 2007 draft passed on Brady Quinn.
By all of this happening, the Jaguars will save $5.145 milion this year, assuming they move Leftwich; Garrard’s salary this season is “only” $1.5 million. And you can be assured that once this happens, some team will snap up Leftwich. Leftwich still holds some value, albeit not as a starting QB. Maybe the Falcons could look into acquiring Leftwich as their QB situation is iffy, at best. Del Rio, because of this transaction, is for all intents and purposes coaching for his job this season. And I would expect that anything less than a wild-card berth this season will be enough reason for Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver to fire Del Rio.