Jaguars: The Quarterback

(G. Newman Lowrance / Getty Images)

In this series we will look at each position on the Jaguars, determine the talent and needs, and suggest changes.

At the end of each football season, each team must assess it's own roster and identify the talent they have, the talent they don't have, and what positions of need there are for each team to get to the next level. In this next reoccurring segment, we are going to examine the talent that the Jaguars have at each position, look at what players that were on the 2007 roster that are scheduled for free agency, then assess whether or not the talent is sufficient at that particular position. The first position we are going to look at is the most important position in sports, the position of quarterback.

Starter- David Garrard; Backup- Quinn Gray

David Garrard emerged as the Jaguars starter in 2007 and nobody was really sure of what to expect. Garrard exceeded all expectations as he went from a physically talented guy who was inaccurate and made poor decisions, to the complete package at QB. Garrard finished third in the NFL with a quarterback rating of 102.2, and threw 18 TD's and only 6 INT's.

    Contract status: Garrard is currently under contract for the 2008 season, but will likely be signed to a new deal in this offseason.

Quinn Gray started four games for the Jaguars in 2007, three of which when Garrard went down with a high ankle sprain. Gray was shaky early on, but seemed to grow into the position with more playing time. Gray has a strong arm and throws a pretty ball, but has displayed trouble going through all of his reads. Gray also takes chances with the football, and prior to the Jaguars season ending loss at Houston where mostly backups played, threw just six touchdowns and five interceptions.

    Contract status: Gray is an unrestricted free agent who could command a decent wage based on his potential as a solid passer. In Gray's final game started, he completed 25 of 39 passes for 302 yards, 4 TD's and no interceptions.

    The Jaguars will have to place a dollar value on Quinn Gray, and their value may be a little more than the rest of the league. The Jaguars found Gray, took the time to develop him, and now he knows their system and can be counted on for a few games when and if Garrard is sidelined. If Gray decides to head for greener pastures, the Jaguars can replace him fairly easily, and likely for less money.

Other options that could be available: UFA's- Tim Rattay, Rex Grossman, J.T. O'Sullivan, Craig Nall, Jamie Martin, Cleo Lemon, Marques Tuiasosopo, Daunte Culpepper, Josh McCown, Shaun Hill, and Todd Collins.

Who makes sense: Rattay, Lemon, and McCown should be moderately priced, and each of them have had starting experience. Grossman, Culpepper, and Collins will likely cost too much and/or be more of a distraction. Shaun Hill makes a lot of sense being that he's young and has experienced some recent success, but San Francisco will likely find a way to keep him on the roster. The others would likely be third quarterback candidates, or possibly backups in an emergency type of situation.

Are changes neccessary? Yes. The Jaguars appear to have their starter for the foreseeable future with Garrard, but with him as the only quarterback on the roster under contract, they must sign someone to back him up, whether it be Gray or someone else. They may even return to the three quarterback format that they've used every year with the exception of 2007, and sign two players.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustrated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.



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