It’s August 18, and we’re not sure who will open the season as the Jaguars starting quarterback.
The favorite remains veteran David Garrard, but the decision doesn’t appear to be the slam dunk that it was a few weeks ago. Garrard missed a lot of time early in camp with a back injury, and rookie Blaine Gabbert has reportedly come along faster than expected.
Gabbert still got reps with the No. 1 offense this week, even after Garrard returned. The rookie has impressed the Jaguars staff with his ability to pick things up quickly in camp.
“The reality is, the Jaguars have a very real quarterback competition,” Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times Union writes. “It’s become apparent from talking to people in the building and by watching Gabbert throughout camp that he has the ability to be an NFL quarterback — and soon.
Garrard will start Friday against the Falcons. It would still be a surprise to see him lose his job, but Jack Del Rio has made a surprising and decisive quarterback move in camp before.
It was only four years ago that Del Rio stunned the football world by dumping Byron Leftwich for Garrard on September 1 after Leftwich ran as a starter during camp. The Jaguars cut Leftwich partly because he was making a starter’s salary and the team decided he was the second best QB on the team.
Garrard is due almost $8 million this season. At the very least, it looks like he’ll have a short leash in the regular season.
At worst, we wonder if he’s a candidate to get cut or offered as trade bait.