I must admit that I am a fan of David Garrard. I live in a town where that is not a very popular opinion. While David has a vocal minority of supporters such as myself, his skills and personality are really under appreciated in Northeast Florida. As a player, I like his skill set. I was in the stands last year when David calmly marched the Jags down the field, Mojo took a knee on the one-yard line, and David floated a little touch pass over the defense to seal the win with less than a minute on the clock. David made that drive happen, but he made that play happen with his feet. We're talking gutcheck time, fourth quarter in the NFL, and David is making guys miss and evading tacklers before he makes a touch throw that only a handful of guys in the league make in that situation. Sure, Peyton is a better passer, but he doesn't make that play.
David is big in this community. He gives much of his time and talent to worthy causes throughout Jacksonville. He is humble and intelligent, and he represents the city well. Now David has some very vocal critics, with the loudest and most influential probably being Pete Prisco. I love Pete. He's the best in the business at what he does, and I was listening to Colin Cowherd (another good one) before he went national at ESPN. Colin made his bones in Portland.
Pete's right about a lot of things, but not about David. He doesn't get through every read, but even Pete will admit (as he did yesterday) that David offers elite play over long periods of time. In 2007, he had an 18-3 touchdown to interception ration. He also won a playoff game, almost by himself with a thirty-plus-yard run against the Steelers.
Pete rips David on the air every day. Yesterday, David answered the call, and it's just another reason I like the guy and I admire him and am happy he's backing the Jags. David was courteous but stern. He was professional and reserved. He didn't let Pete bait him, and he seriously handled his business.
That was a good man answering the call there.
David needs to win, and he'll admit that. He's a .500 QB in his four years as a starter, and that's about where he is overall. I like his skills more than most, so I put him in the top thirteen or fourteen in the league. He's definitely above the 60th percentile. And I think the people here, as much as they like to tear him down, know it too. When Dave got his bell rung in the game last week against Miami, there was a serious pall over the stadium. It's his job, and he's earned it. He needs to win this year, for sure, and I think he can.
In summary, this is David: talented player (not an elite passer, but a very good overall football player), stand-up man, community asset, strong leader. Those tearing him down should reconsider. We could, after all, have someone in town like Roethlisberger.
Bobby Bowden is out making the rounds on promoting his book, and he's come out and said that FSU President T.K. Wetherell told him to go be a figurehead in the booth or his contract was kaput. Seriously? Bobby wanted one more year. And yes, these aren't the 2000 'Noles, but I think the university would have done well to honor that. Jimbo could have waited twelve more months (although I like where he's taking the boys, and I think they can compete now with Ponder) and Bobby deserved the chance to do his farewell tour. When it comes to Southern football, I go Gator every time, so take my opinion for what it's worth. Still, I think Bobby got a raw deal in Tallahassee.
Tiger and Elin's divorce went final yesterday. So, will this lead to better play on the golf course? Is Tiger now past all the guilt, feelings of failure, financial kick in the nuts and angst about the future of his kids? Will this lead him toward redemption and finally finding his place on the course? I doubt it. I think Tiger, who has made eight of nine cuts in his worst year ever (and two top-tens at majors), was on his way to figuring it out on his own prior to yesterday's announcement. When the dam breaks for this guy, it's going to be a low round out there...
Coming soon: my PAC-10 preview...