The Jacksonville Jaguars announced today that they have released long time quarterback David Garrard, freeing up $9 million in cap money. What does this mean for the Jags and the AFC South?
Head coach Jack Del Rio was informed during the off season that if he failed to make the playoffs, there's a good chance he'd be out of a job after the 2011 season. This appears to be what prompted the move to release Garrard and name Luke McCown the starter for week one.
McCown has been an inconsistent quarterback in the NFL, at best. He's had a decent preseason, but playing against third team guys that probably aren't making NFL rosters isn't what I would call "good evidence" that he's going to lead this team to the playoffs.
The Jags drafted Blaine Gabbert in the first round, but with a shortened off season, he's not ready to take the snaps for a coach that is on the hot seat. Team owner Wayne Weaver has hurt this team by putting these stipulations on Del Rio. If he's not your guy, get rid of him now! You drafted a quarterback in the first round because your team is in need of a change, and that means rebuilding. So why put the pressure on your head coach to make the playoffs when you know that this is nearly impossible? The reason that football teams have General Manager's and front office staff is to have someone who is business minded make these decisions. Many owners in the league don't have a clue on how to make football decisions. They just happen to be wealthy individuals that can afford an NFL franchise. Naturally owning a multi-million dollar business, the owner wants to have some say in what happens, which is expected. But sometimes these guys just need to stay out of the media and consult with their office personnel before making statements.
This team is going a different direction at quarterback, so I see them at a rebuilding stage. The only way they would make the playoffs is to win the division, and they are far from the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans. With one of the above mentioned teams, the Baltimore Ravens, and the New York Jets all in the AFC, a wild card seems highly unlikely as well.
Jack Del Rio will be a great defensive coordinator for some team next season!