May 23, 2011
Another weekend has come and gone, and unfortunately, the lockout did not get raptured. We are still here, and so is the lockout, but we are getting closer to the June 3 day in court in St. Louis.
[Insert clichés about competition here] … You’ve got to play them one day at a time. I’m just happy to be here; hope I can help the ball club. I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.
Perhaps Jaguar QB David Garrard is the new Crash Davis, as he brought out the clichés – and acknowledged it – when discussing his upcoming quarterback battle with rookie 1st-round pick Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh …. or, uh, Blaine Gabbert.
Said Garrard, according to The Florida Times-Union: “My thing is the best man will play. The cream will rise to the top. All those different sayings. That’s true, you want the best person out there on the field to give the team the best chance. That’s what I believe. If it’s not me, then it’s just not me. If Blaine comes in and he is above and beyond just better than me, then best of luck to him. Because the best person is going to give this team a chance to win should be out there. I’ve always believed that. I’m going to work my tail off to make sure that it’s me. I’m sure he’ll be working hard as well.”
Garrard went on to say that he and Gabbert talk, and it’s going to be difficult for Gabbert to make a quick transition, especially because of the lockout. That’s definitely true, and it would be surprising to see anyone but Garrard under center when the Jaguars take the field in Week One. As inconsistent as he is, he’s far from the worst starting QB option in the league, and he gives the Jaguars a chance to win. With that said, if he struggles and the team struggles early, don’t be surprised if Gabbert gets a shot in the middle of the season. Of course, the Jaguars face plenty of uncertainty overall, as the receiving corps desperately needs veteran help (Mike Thomas, Jason Hill, and rookie Cecil Shorts are the top options with Mike Sims-Walker likely heading elsewhere) and HC Jack Del Rio is on the hot seat.
The longer the lockout goes on, the more difficult it will be for a rookie QB to play early in his career. The presence of Garrard puts the Jaguars in a better position than teams like Minnesota (Christian Ponder), Cincinnati (Andy Dalton), and especially Carolina (Cam Newton), where rookie QBs may be pressed into action from the start anyway. Still, Gabbert is the future in Jacksonville, and if the season doesn’t go well – and, let’s face it, there’s a good chance that’s the case – plenty of people, both inside and outside the organization, will want to see the promising young QB in action.
And if Gabbert wins the job and you want to wish him well, candlesticks make a nice gift.
Players call NFL a “cartel” … The NFLPA filed its arguments with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis minutes before Friday night’s deadline. The filing is more of the same rhetoric, saying the league has violated antitrust laws and players suffer irreparable harm from the lockout. In addition, the players decided to describe the NFL as a “cartel,” and they also received support from the MLB, NHL, and NBA players’ unions. In other words, we’ve been hearing most of the same arguments for months, and it would be great if everyone shut up and got a deal done. But, again, right now the important date is June 3, when the hearing will take place for the NFL’s appeal of Judge Susan Nelson’s lockout injunction. Unfortunately, after the stay ruling, all signs are pointing to a league victory that would prevent the lockout from being lifted.
- Speaking of Christian Ponder, he said he’s talked to Viking teammates about working out in Florida. The Vikings have not yet worked out as a group. The good news is Ponder received a playbook during the brief period in which the lockout was lifted.
- WR Braylon Edwards reiterated that he’d like to re-sign with the Jets after a fairly productive 2010 season as the team’s deep threat alongside Santonio Holmes. Edwards attended Mark Sanchez’s informal camp in California, and the Jets may have a decision to make with Holmes, Edwards, and Brad Smith all set for free agency.
- Patriot WR Wes Welker said he’s feeling a lot healthier, and he’s also not really worried about 2011 being the last year of his contract.