It might be the most intriguing position in sports.
At quarterback you have to be athletic, smart, communicate well and have a thick skin. You’re the goat when the team loses and the hero when they win. And sometimes you’re the goat when they win but never the hero when they lose.
You’re legacy depends on wins and losses and championships. Stats are fine, but getting into the playoffs and making a name for yourself is what you’ll leave behind in the league.
And there are intangibles at the quarterback position that you can’t quantify.
He has to be a leader, either by what he does or by what he says. The team has to respond to him. For the third week in a row, David Garrard will be the starter for the Jaguars. He’s lost only once as a starter, including two straight wins this year. Garrard is mobile and strong-armed. He might not be as accurate as he’d like, but his production is undeniable.
And Garrard has the intangibles.
The team plays at a different tempo when he’s in the lineup. He’s quick to the line and the team responds to it. And take nothing away from Byron Leftwich. He’s productive and, when healthy, gets the job done.
He also has the intangibles a quarterback needs and the team responds to him, but in a different way. He’s more laid-back. He’s slower and has a different rhythm. So, is one better than another? Depends on whom you ask and who the opponent is.
Last year when Leftwich was hurt, Garrard filled in, helping the Jaguars to the playoffs. They were in a rhythm, Garrard’s rhythm. When Head Coach Jack Del Rio extracted Garrard from the lineup inserting Leftwich, it wasn’t that Leftwich couldn’t play; he disrupted the dynamic of the team. They were in Garrard’s rhythm and had been for about six weeks. Leftwich played OK against the Patriots but the team was out of sync and they were soundly beaten.
This week, Del Rio announced that Garrard would be the starter and qualified it by saying that Leftwich’s ankle was “85 or 90 percent” and that it might “need a clean out procedure” at some point. So it gives Del Rio a reason to keep Garrard in the lineup and follows his philosophy of putting the player in the lineup who give the Jaguars the best chance to win, regardless of position, salary or draft number.
It’s the right call.
The team is in rhythm, they’re winning and finally on Wednesday Leftwich got on message saying that he’d do “anything to help the team win.”
I know Byron wanted to have a big year so he could demand a contract extension but it’s a big, bad world out here among the working folk. Sometimes things don’t work exactly as you’d like. So keep your head up and keep working and something good will happen. Like you’ll be on a playoff team again.
And that ain’t half bad.