According to Tania Ganguli of the Flordia Times Union, not only is David Garrard not guaranteed the starting job for the upcoming season, but if he loses his job to rookie Blaine Gabbert, it could mean the end of his career in Jacksonville entirely.
Ganguli says Gabbert “won’t sit for the sake of development. If he beats out Garrard, he will start.”
If that happens, it is likely the Jaguars will approach Garrard about taking a cut to the $8 million he is owed for the upcoming season. Should he refuse, it’s likely he would simply get the axe if the Jags cannot find a trade partner willing to take on Garrard’s contract.
With all that said, it’s unlikely Gabbert is able to outplay Garrard. Even if the offseason schedule wasn’t so screwy this year thanks to this ridiculous lockout and Gabbert did have mini camps and OTAs and the like in order to learn the Jaguars’ playbook, it’s unlikely Gabbert could assimilate himself to a pro-style offense so quickly.
Gabbert has a few bad habits that will need broken, and a talent that will need to be learned in taking the ball from under center more often than not. There are a few teams that have started using the shotgun more often than not, but the Jaguars under Jack Del Rio are not one of them.
Garrard has shown an ability to win games with inferior talent around him and has the advantage of already knowing the system. It would take an immense implosion on Garrard’s part for Gabbert to see the field at all in 2011; and given the fact that Garrard actually seems to be improving as he enters his mid-30’s, that doesn’t seem likely.
Expect Gabbert to hold the clipboard for his first season a la Carson Palmer and be given a real chance to win the job next year.