Luke McCown finally got a chance to work with the first team offense in a pre-season game. Really, it wasn’t a true first team offense, but it was as close as he’ll likely get the rest of the season. I’m disappointed that it took this long for him to get time with the first team, but he didn’t waste it. After completing just 1 of his first 5 attempts, he led the Jaguars on a touchdown drive, ending the night 4 of 9 with 47 yards and a touchdown. Sure, that’s not a jaw-dropping stat line, but he was more impressive than David Garrard, who was 1 of 5 with 11 yards. To be fair to Garrard, he had no time in the pocket, but he still has to make plays.
While McCown was getting his first bits of game time with the first team offense, Blaine Gabbert was also breaking down a barrier for the first time. Tonight was the first time he looked like a quarterback with poise and control, but again, he was playing with and against 2nd and 3rd team players.
Most of us, myself included, probably thought that the Jaguars’ quarterback competition was a 2 pony race. I thought that McCown looked good last year in the pre-season, but he was still only an after-thought, but I can’t keep ignoring a guy that is constantly driving the Jaguars up and down the field, regardless of who he’s playing with and against.
I have no problem with David Garrard. I was a supporter of his when he won the starting job over Byron Leftwich, and I supported him since, including the times he struggled last season, but the time to move on seems to be here. He’s been very unproductive as a starter this pre-season, even when compared to Blaine Gabbert.
So, if Garrard, in my own mind, is out as the starter, do you play Gabbert or McCown? To me, the answer is simple, and it’s right in front of us. Play McCown.
As I alluded to earlier, David Garrard had no time in the pocket, and he took some significant shots while delivering the football. McCown, on the other hand, was able to stay mostly clean. Now, I’m assuming that Garrard did indeed have less time, but that doesn’t explain it all. Garrard has always had problems with hanging on to the ball too long, and it’s something I’ve never noticed McCown struggling with. The Jaguars’ offensive line isn’t that great, especially in pass protection. Doesn’t it make sense to play the guy that gets rid of the ball?
The Jaguars are clearly a team still being molded by Gene Smith, and they’ll continue to grow and mature. I think it’s time that the quarterback position, which has remained largely unchanged since the rebuilding process began back at the end of the 2008 season, gets a long overdue makeover. I wish David Garrard all the best, but I think it’s time that the Jaguars move in a new direction, towards the future.