We've been speculating for weeks if not months about the future of David Garrard as the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback. We all know that Blaine Gabbert isn't polished, but it's his team to lead at some point, whether it's sooner or later. We've also discussed on various forums, here and elsewhere, about which quarterback would be picked if the competition was virtually equal. Let's throw in one more wrinkle to the equation. Jack Del Rio may have an incentive to move on with Blaine Gabbert instead of David Garrard.
At the start of the pre-season, I would have told you that David Garrard was the starting quarterback. On August 17th, I went so far as to say that Blaine Gabbert would start week 1. Since then, I've flopped back over to thinking Garrard would start, but I also said I'd like to see Luke McCown get a shot. I think at this point, you're all tired of reading about me flip-flopping, and frankly, I'm tired of it too. I meant every word I wrote at the time I wrote it, but I also adapted my views to fit changing situations. I'll add one more thing to my ever-increasing quarterback dialogue. I think that it's in Jack Del Rio's best interests to start Blaine Gabbert.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at the Jaguars' first three pre-season games and say, "Gee, I think the Jaguars have a poor starter with a poor backup." To be fair, the starter is a seasoned veteran, and the backup is a fresh-out-of-college rookie. Wayne Weaver basically gave Jack Del Rio an ultimatum of playoffs or else for the 2011 season, but he later backed off those comments a little. Here's my thought process. Del Rio needs to win now, and I thought that Garrard gave the Jaguars a chance to do that, but now it appears he doesn't, and Blaine Gabbert probably doesn't either. With that being the case, Del Rio's incentive to start Gabbert is that the expectations aren't there for Gabbert, yet.
If Del Rio does indeed start Gabbert week one, as I actually expect him to do, the community, and more importantly Wayne Weaver, may not have playoff expectations this year. With that being the case, another 8-8 season would likely mean that Del Rio would keep his job at least one more year, unless they collapse at the end again.
The way I see it, David Garrard is playing for his job. Blaine Gabbert is playing to be the starter now. Luke McCown won't be the starter, despite my objections. Many people criticize Jack Del Rio on a number of different issues, but I'm a big JDR supporter, and I was in David Garrard's camp too until recently. I like the guy. I really do, but for the team's sake and for JDR's sake, he has to go sooner rather than later. I think Del Rio's the man for the job, and I hate to see him get fired because he didn't have a quarterback to lead his team.