Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

31 Aug 2007

Jaguars to Cut Leftwich, Name Garrard Starter

OK, hold your horses on those DVOA and KUBIAK projections, folks. This changes everything. More news as we get it. I know Leftwich didn't look spectacular in the preseason, but this really looks like an overreaction by Del Rio. I'm off to go re-figure things. If you are in Indianapolis, you should be happy today.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 31 Aug 2007

101 comments, Last at 03 Sep 2007, 1:19am by Chad Gerson


by Al H (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:13pm

As a longtime Jags fan, I am incredibly angry at this move. Not just the switch, but the timing.

It's horrible and is just RUINING my outlook on the season:(

by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:13pm

Thank God I didn't submit my Loser League team yet.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:14pm

and Atlanta's starting QB for the 2007 season will be. . .

by mikeabbott (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:14pm

Why cut him now? unless there is a serious money problem wouldn't he be better then any likely backup

by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:14pm

Better I guess to trade the guy now rather than lose him after the season. He could conceivably start in Minnesota (and Chicago, but I doubt that will happen). Seattle and Washington are looking for veteran backups. Maybe the Cards too, if they decide they'd rather have Fat Albert than Warner and his Wire-haired Man-Goblin. Maybe New York? They'll need somebody if Eli can't get it done. Green Bay to take over when Favre is done? The possibilities abound.

by D (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:21pm

I think even people who feel that the team is better off with Garrad would concede that the timing of this move was awful. In regards to #5. Leftwich is a poor fit for a WCO, so he probably would not be a great fit in Green Bay or Seattle. Minn., despite running a WCO, might still be an option though because of how bad their QBs are.

by beedubyuh (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:22pm

Oh, man. I would kill to get this guy in a Bears uniform. But it ain't gonna happen. Damn.

by Gerry (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:27pm

Just wow.

If he signs with the Bears, they become my Super Bowl pick. Perfect match between need and opportunity.

by sam (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:28pm

jaguars.com is reporting (or confirming) that Garrard is to be named the starter today, and that the team will try and trade Leftwich. As usual, it looks like the "breaking news" is about half truth, half guess.

I hope beyond hope this means that Charles Sharon and John Broussard will be starting WITH Garrard, the guys that made Garrard look good all preseason. That would be the one silver lining.

by Gerry (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:29pm

I guess I need to ask the guys who posted before me-- why do you think it would not happen?

It seems blindingly obvious to me. Bring him in, telling Grossman he's on a short leash. Grossman's psyche has already been whaled upon; protecting it now is pretty silly. Either he sinks or swims, and with Leftwich around you have the exact type of quarterback who would be very successful for your offense-- and all you need is adequacy.

by Randy S. (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:32pm

8 - I don't know about that. A QB needs time to adjust to a new offensive system, a week really isn't enough time. The Bears bringing him aboard seems like a good move, but he would still probably back up Grossman and perhaps take over next season.

What team has an old QB and no heir-apparent? Maybe Dallas, if Romo doesn't work out. Tampa Bay? Kansas City?

by admin :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:32pm

I want everybody to know what's coming.

I've added Garrard to the formula. I gave him a little bit of credit for his previous starts, so he's tagged as a second-year starter, not a first-year starter.

The quarterback change and the injury to Brad Meester (don't forget that one) will drop Jacksonville's mean projected offensive DVOA by roughly 15 percentage points compared to what we had when we did the book.

Happy division title, Indianapolis!

New team projections in full coming next week, probably Tuesday. New KUBIAK coming as soon as humanly possible. I bagged on picking my daughter up at daycare because of the Jaguars, and my wife is not happy about it.

by Lance (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:34pm

It's like waking up from a bad dream. They are scheduling a 5:30 press conference. I'm pretty sure it's going to be about Jack Del Rio's new book "Indecision 07: How I killed an NFL franchise". Speaking of books Del Rio must of not read PFP 07.

Did they watch Garrard last year??? He played well in the preseason...Garrard wont be playing 3rd string Packer cornerbacks all year.

I think I may have an aneurysm.

by Al H (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:38pm

There's a lot of talk, or there has been that Garrard has worked on his mechanics and decision-making....but I just don't see it. He's a one-receiver QB, Vick-like with less athleticism.

I actually feel sick to my stomach about the opener. I still remember when he scored 21 points FOR Tennessee.

by BB (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:42pm

Click my name for the official word from the Jags site. Trying to trade him before the cut-down deadline tomorrow, so he may yet just be dropped if they can't trade him. The article doesn't say.

by Brandy (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:42pm

I am sad to see Byron go, but I am excited at the potential that David holds. I think the timing isn't the best, but I'm glad we start the regular season fresh with our new QB instead of 3 weeks down the road, and 3 losses later. As for the #2 position, Quinn Gray has earned it. I feel more confident in the season ahead with this change. I know that Byron will find success, just not in Jacksonville.

by kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 6:52pm

Where was that extra point where someone spent about 20 posts arguing how stupid it was to expect Jax to generate a QB controversy just because their coaches had a history of handling QB decisions poorly?

by hector (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:00pm

Gary Coleman plays Leftwich in the movie. Haven't cast Del Rio yet.

I actually think Garrard might scare the Colts more - Indy's defense will occasionally struggle with mobile QBs. And geesh, Leftwich's slow delivery was such a gift to defenses - he starts the throw Tuesday, finishes on the weekend. If there's some pending greatness to Byron Leftwich, I've totally missed it.

by BB (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:02pm

17: Well, to be fair, they didn't create a QB controversy here because they're getting rid of one of them so he won't be around for a 'controversy'. But they still added another point in their history of handling QB decisions poorly, both in making the decision last minute and getting rid of the better QB.

by sam (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:02pm


No, we thought it was stupid to say "Koetter is a stupid hire because he will cause a quarterback controversy like he did at ASU." We've known now for a year that Del Rio instigates QB controversy.

re: Garrard's potential. We've been hearing about it since Coughlin was king. Let's not forget that for all his "potential" that when Brunell was injured 4 games into 2003, Garrard had already lost the backup job to Leftwich and over the next 4 years was never able to beat him out.

by admin :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:06pm

You know, on second thought, this may not destroy the Jacksonville projection entirely. The quarterback issues do nothing to change the fact that the Jags defense projects to be the best in the league. We'll see once I'm done...

by footballprofessor (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:07pm

Man, I think people are jumping on Jacksonville too quickly. Penciling them out of the division championship hunt Aaron?

The Jags should definitely still be contenders. This doesn't change my projections one bit.

by iapetus (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:07pm

20: Well, I didn't think this was coming, and I'll happily eat my crow. I was wrong, they were right. :P

Now to hope that it was the right decision - Garrard looked great in preseason, but preseason is preseason, and he's looked great before - shortly before leading us out of the playoffs single-handedly...

by footballprofessor (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:09pm

Dangit Aaron, how did you get that comment up a minute before mine. Now I've got to find something else to rag on you about.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:12pm


I think MJD scares the Colts D more than whoevers under center.

In fact, I think Jacksonville could pull a Carolina from last year and just put Fred Taylor/MJD taking the direct snap all game.

by BB (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:17pm

26: A regular appearance of the 'Wildcat' offense in the NFL, even if just put in for a specific opponent, would almost be reason enough to have Sunday Ticket.

by RMGreen (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:25pm

And I JUST drafted Leftwich for my backup QB in my fantasy draft last night. *sigh* Stupid Jaguars...

by black (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:29pm

Worst nightmare come true, worst day ever if you add in me and my girlfriend broke up today. lol. *cries*

by David (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:40pm

I would like to note that I submitted my Loser League team 90 freaking minutes before this announcement. Damn you, Del Rio!

by jaguarlloyd (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:43pm

Jags are still going to Super Bowl. B Leftwich is great qb, will take some team to playoffs. D Garrard will be a superstar this year. Going to Pro Bowl. D is unstopable. MJD and F Taylor are unstopable. Colts are a good team, but Jags better.

by Peter (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:43pm

Fire. Jack Del Rio. I think that Garrard's meltdown has made him rather underrated to many Jaguar fans (if you've ever been on the Jaguars.com message board you know what I mean), he's not as good as Byron Leftwich.

There has to, absolutely HAS TO be a deeper reason for this than just pre-season performance, or I've lost complete faith in this front office. Ridiculous.

This has been a roller-coaster ride couple of days. A report said that John Henderson may be out for the year which turned out to be untrue, Vic Ketchman stating that RG Chris Naeole is unhappy and wants out, and now this? This year was the most optimistic I've ever had for any of my sports teams. Now it's one big dark cloud.

by JagsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:44pm

28--You've must of never watched David Garrard play.

by jaguarlloyd (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:45pm

The site my name is linked to claims to be under construction and coming soon. I hope that happens, and it doesn't just stay an ad repository.

by jaguarlloyd (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:46pm

Dang! Blew my cover!

by t.d. (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:46pm

As a Jags fan, I don't have a problem with the move. I'm not a huge Garrard fan, but Leftwich's slow release kills the offense. Think Drew Bledsoe. Del Rio's job is on the line this year. Either it'll pan out, or they'll go in another direction next year. The talent other than at QB is top notch. I just wish we'd drafted Quinn

by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:50pm

Yeah, I've added the Jaguars to the list of teams that are going to be serious players in the Bill Cowher Sweepstakes this coming offseason. The bidding on that guy is going to be crazy.

by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:52pm

Holy crap, does Jacksonville take some sort of sick pleasure in tormenting their fans with such a great roster with crappy QB play or what!

by Rollo (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 7:57pm

I can't believe this...it hurts even more when your franchise, which has been revitalized by smart roster building through the draft and player development, has the team's most important position switched around because Del Rio things watching him scramble and get sacked is more exciting. You have a top 10 pick with 4 years of starting experience who is now healthy, and a great defense and running game. Why????

by NF (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:01pm

Will this affect MJD's fantasy value?

by Fergasun (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:01pm

35, guess you never read PFP 2005.... except I can't remember if it was 2005 or 2006.

Redskin fans are hoping Brunell is traded to Jacksonville as backup... although there was a rumour he was going to Seattle... although I don't have a problem keeping him as a 3rd QB and I think Gibbs might do that out of paranoia...

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:10pm

Rollo- Leftwhich was a guy that was always hurt. What did he miss, 15 of the teams last 21 games? He hasn't played a full season yet. Even if he was healthy now, the guys mechanics are just begging for another injury.

Leftwhich is also like Steve Mcnair, in that even when he is healthy, he is very often banged up. Mcnair used to skip practice during the week, and just go show up in games...

so your left with a situation. You have two quarterbacks and neither are really that good. If Leftwhich is your starter, and he's injured or hurt, guess who is running the offense in your practices? Do you really want Garrard running the offense Monday through Friday in practice, and then Byron just suites up for games?

Also, if your going to run such a basic and conservative run the ball with the occasional jump ball deep offense, the logic is to have the more mobile guy to take care of the easier job than say a WCO.

Byron is too often injured, too cocky for what he has done thus far, and will be looking for a new contract. It wouldn't suprise me if the whole "leadership" aspect came into play too.

As a coach, you want your QB to be there ( healthy), and be your leader. Not some guy that's always hurt, and skipping practice.

If the Jags were going to cut him, now is the time to do it, not week 3. Sure, you would have liked to cut him earlier in the process, but they wanted to evalute him. What do you want Del Rio to say ( that he is considering getting rid of Byron?)

I don't think this changes the Jags projection that much. No need to crown the Colts. The Jags are built on defense and will sport a top 5 defense next year. They are the sister team of the Ravens. If they get anything at all out of that offense, they could make all of PFP projections come true, and they can be the 06' Ravens. If that offense continues to stink, they could very easily be the 05' Ravens or the 06' Jags.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:15pm

Why would the Redskins be so quick to trade Brunell back to Jacksonville? As much as the good people of washington hate Brunell, he wasn't bad last year. You might not like the master of the horizontal offense, but he didn't lose ( or win) you games last year. There are only a handfull of QB's that will go out and dominate games, and I don't think anyone is calling for Jason Campbell to do that either.

JC is still an unproven commidity. Also factor in that Gibbs trust brunell and was slow to give him the hook last year.

All of the things you hear about Campbell, people said the exact same things about Patrick Ramsey in washington " Big guy, strong arm, from the deep south, can make the big league throws". Ramsey was the guy that got pulled after week 1, and the job was given back to Brunell two years ago.

Fans generally tend to love unproven big armed quarterbacks more than aging guys that will be decent. That is until the unproven big armed quarterback starts to throw picks.

by admin :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:16pm

Leftwich-free KUBIAK is now posted. I need a nap badly. I would like to officially thank Jack Del Rio for not doing this while I was on the road for the book tour.

by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:17pm

off topic:

Anyone who was planning to bet the over on the Jags might want to reconsider. ;) I do like the Jags a lot, but with that situation at QB...

I'm not a big fan of Garrard, and QB could be a mess there.
Still say the only lock I've seen is Chiefs and the under.

by Sifter (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:20pm

Man I feel sorry for Leftwich. What's he been guilty of? Being too tough and trying to play through his injuries? Anyone would try to do that. Speaking his mind a couple of weeks back about the QB situation? Geez, he was just telling it like it is.

While he has a lot of Jags fans that are loyal to him, Leftwich seems to be constantly lambasted amongst fans for his lack of mobility, long throwing motion and occasional inaccuracy. But no one mentions his strengths: He's a big dude with a big arm, he's mobile when he has to be (see PFP 2007), he seems like a great leader and he doesn't make nearly as many stupid errors as other hyped QBs (eg. Big Ben, Garrard, Grossman, Vince Young, Kitna, Hasselbeck etc.) as KC Joyner demonstrates with his bad decision metrics.

I really hope he finds a decent team/decent situation cause he doesn't deserve this crap.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:48pm

45- Leftwhichs claim to fame was his famous carry me down the field injury game at Marshall. What QB is constantly hurt more than him?

Of course people harp on the long throwing motion, and inaccuracy, it is a quaterbacks job to get the ball to his weapons. What is Byrons excuse, that Matt Jones 6'5 wingspan isn't big enough to throw accurate passes to?

I don't care if he is a big dude with a big arm. Big dudes with big arms are a dime a dozen in the NFL. Patrick Ramsey is a big dude with a big arm... and he isn't injured nearly as often as Byron. That doesn't mean teams should line up to grab Ramsey.

Sid- You should never say the L word.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:51pm


If ever there was a role for Gary Coleman on stilts that is it.

by Diogenes00 (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:57pm

They've just got to keep chopping wood.

by hooper (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 9:03pm

Re: 43

Even as someone who avoids the fantasy football scene (it's that or finish my thesis), I would like to say that your dedication to updating the KUBIAK this quickly is laudable. I'm sure that everybody who uses the KUBIAK is deeply appreciative.

It's just one of the reasons this site is so cool (and why I bought a PFP for a friend as well as myself!). Have a great weekend, Aaron. May the rest of the teams be kinder to you over the next few days.

by Ryan Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 9:24pm

Right move, wrong time.

If you read between the lines and know some history here you know that Del Rio has never been a leftwich guy. Jack gave Byron every chance to lead the Jags, and he never did it.

Honestly what has Byron done to deserve a starting job? His whole career he has had a stellar D and an above average running game behind him, and yet he has been average at best.

Now whether or not Jack Del Rio believes in Garrard is irrelevent. There comes a time when you know it wont work out with a certain guy, obviously this was the case in Jax.

Dont put all of the blame on Del Rio either. There is no way and I mean no way that this happens if Leftwich is in there working his tail off, surely he deserves atleast half of the blame here. Judging from his quotes he still seems to be bitter from last season when the Jags refused to let him play on 1 leg.

Teams that could be interested in him: Tampa Bay, Chicago, Atlanta and my own personal wild card favorite....Dallas Cowboys.

Romo is a FA next year and if he turns out to stink the Boys wont re-sign him and they get Leftwich in at the pivot. If Romo is a go then they have a nice little trade bait for a team that needs an experienced QB.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 9:50pm

This situation came about because of one reason and one reason only: Jack Del Rio has a clear personal grudge against Leftwich. It happens. Lefwich could've played like Marino circa 1984 and still been hated by Del Rio.

Now I'm not suggesting anything racist is going on here, the fact that Garrard is being named the starter makes that ludicrous. All I'm saying is there may not be a current case in the league right now of a coach hating a player more.

Releasing leftwich when he could've been kept as a backup just in case isn't logical or rational, but when it comes to personal grudges all logic and rationality goes out the window.

Oh, and since I personally saw Garrard do perhaps the worst (best?) job of singlehandedly winning a game for the opponent of any QB ever against the Titans last year (and keep in mind which team I'm a fan of) I simply cannot foresee anything other than total disaster for the Jags, regardless of how good the rest of their team seems to be.

Del Rio will be joining Leftwich in the unemployment line after this season. Book it, Danno.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 9:56pm

Wow. That shows what a stable coaching staff Jax has. ;)

I think he's a perfect fit for Minnesota. They can give him some time to throw (Hutchinson, Birk, McKinnie), and he throws a nice deep ball. And he's used to being on a team where the receivers always drop the ball.

by The Bookshelf (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:01pm

Wow, the first round QBs in 2002 & 2003 draft are David Carr, Joey Harrington, Patrick Ramsey, Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich, Rex Grossman & Kyle Bollier. That's seven first round guys and only one certified success (Palmer, needless to say). Those two classes have to be one of the great arguments for not taking a QB in Round 1.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:11pm

Dolfan36- How would Jack Del Rio be racist for cutting Byron? He is replaced by 2 black quarterbacks? Maybe Del Rio wasn't impressed with the constant injuries, missing practice, being outspoken, and generally not working hard enough and leading his team.

If the Jags start Garrard but keep Byron around, he might have cried, been a distraction and undermined the team the whole year.

Maybe Jack sat Byron down and told Byron that he was going to start Garrard, and Byron went nuts and asked to be traded... and the Jags called his bluff.

I certainly don't see Byon in a west coast offense. My guess would be the Redskins as insurance and because Byron enjoyed playing here last year. Brunell is almost done, and Campbell is unproven. In all reality, the Redskins want JC to be what Byron is supposed to be this year. Never doubt Danny Snyder opening his checkbook and firing up the private jet.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:20pm

54: So, you're criticizing Leftwich for being outspoken and not being a leader. How is he supposed to be a leader if Del Rio is constantly undermining him?

by pharmboyrick (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:28pm

Leftwich seems like a class guy. This is a foolish move on the team's part.

I think he would be a good fit for the Bears or Chiefs. Those are two teams that he could add the most benefit.

by Paralis (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:31pm

What's amazing about this is the sheer wrongness of the timing--has there been any front office move recently that has worked out so badly for all possible parties?

Leftwich may not be the ultimate weapon, or even Randall Cunningham--there's a lot of valid criticism one can make about him. But almost none of it is new. So why name him the starter? Why give him training camp and the preseason with the 1s and bench him so late that they can't possible get value for him? Spite doesn't begin to explain it--it'd have been as easy for Del Rio to bench Leftwich in July and squat on his rights until now, and it would've been far better for the team and Garrard particularly.

I understand on some level that you probably shouldn't fire your head coach on the eve of the regular season, but is there any reason to believe they'd be worse under Mike Smith?

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:45pm

I can't believe how negative you guys are on Del Rio. He build that Jags defense, and every defense he has touched turned to gold ( Baltimore/Carolina and now Jacksonville). He made the team good, and now that they are pretty good, people are mad that they aren't better. Sometimes being too good too early or overachieving hurts a coachs image/expectations.

55- You lead by example, and you lead on the field, not by mouthing off to the media and talking a lot.

Sometimes you don't want a guy on the bench undermining your team. The Bucs paid Keyshaun Johnson to stay away from the team. If Byron is just going to get hurt again or waste roster space, why not trade him now?

by iapetus (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:46pm

51: Leftwich couldn't have been kept as a backup. You don't pay a backup 5 million to sit on the bench. And you don't make this sort of move at QB and have the guy you've benched stick around to cause a rift in the locker room. Once you've decided to make the change you have to make the change and cut ties with the outgoing #1.

by MilkmanDanimal (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:54pm

Leftwich in Tampa? HORRIBLE fit. Leftwich's slow delivery mixed with Tampa's godwaful offensive line . . . that would not be a fun combination to watch. Minnesota makes sense, but when the David Carr sweepstakes (there's a phrase I never thought I'd utter) started, Minnesota didn't even make an attempt. Childress appears to have hitched his wagon to Tavaris Jackson, and I don't think he's going to backpedal this late in the proverbial game on that one.

I'll put $2 on Atlanta in the Leftwich pool, if anyone's starting one.

by iapetus (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:55pm

46: Given that Leftwich has been out with two separate injuries in his career so far (three if you count the reaggravation of the ankle as an entirely new injury) I'd guess there have been a fair few. He was unlucky enough to have one injury that kept him out for a full season's worth of games.

What annoys about people harping on the long throwing motion is that they never explain what exactly's wrong with it - or if they do, they end up being wrong. It leads to interceptions because the DBs can see where he's going? Then why does he have such a good TD to INT ratio? It makes him easy to sack and prone to injury? Then why hasn't he been injured more frequently while throwing like that? (His most serious injury came on a scramble, not in the pocket...) Why does his sack ratio compare favourably to guys like Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady?

The excuse for not connecting with Matt Jones is a pretty straightforward one. To date, Matt Jones isn't a very good wide receiver. Hopefully he'll develop into one, but there aren't many signs of it right now.

by Zac (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:57pm

Looking at the teams with the worst projected QBs:
Oakland, Miami, and Tampa Bay already have veterans.
If Cleveland signed him, they'd have to cut Derek Anderson or Charlie Frye. I don't know if they'd be willing to do that or not. I don't think Kansas City is interested.
Houston and San Francisco aren't looking for a starting QB.
Atlanta really does seem like the best place.

by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 10:59pm

I'm not even kidding when I say that if the Bears--who I have projected at 7-9 this year--grabbed Leftwich, I would pick them to win the world championship.

It's not that Leftwich is GREAT, but he's good, and the Bears are the one extremely obvious team that is being badly held back by their quarterback.

by MilkmanDanimal (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 11:06pm

The more I think of it, the less likely Atlanta seems. It's not like Joey Harrington is probably a bucket full of confidence at this point in his career; bringing in another potential starter would just make a tumultuous offseason worse. Anywhere where he could be a potential starter isn't going to pick him up now, because (A) he won't have time to acclimate to the offense and (B) he'll make the current starter nervous.

So somewhere that needs a solid backup where Leftwich can take over later in the season if things don't go right. Buffalo? Denver? Detroit?

by Duff Soviet Union (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 11:11pm

#54, Chris, he specifically stated that it was NOT racist. Honestly, do you ever even read what anyone has to say before you rip them?

by Peter (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 11:21pm

BTW, Leftwich doesn't have a slow release, it's just different. Time it compared to other QBs. It's just that while other QBs go back then forward, Leftwich's motion is almost completely forward.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 11:34pm

#65- If he wasn't suggesting that Jack Del Rio is racist, then why bring it up? Wouldn't that be redundant? The easiest way to not suggest something, is to not bring it up in the first place.

63- If the Bears would win the world championship with Leftwhich ( good QB in your words, with a good defense), then how good would the Jaguars be with a "good" QB and a good defense? I think I saw that movie before, and the team still didn't win any titles.

by Acero (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 11:35pm

Gotta love this move: Del Rio says that Garrard has a "positive energy" about him.

by TMI (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 11:36pm

Wherever Leftwich goes, he's more than likely going to pull a Culpepper and sign a 1-yr minimum type deal, & be a FA again after the season. If he gets lucky this year & gets a chance to play, maybe he'll be able to get a good deal from the Falcons, Packers, Lions, Chiefs, or Dolphins next offseason.

On a side note, I really like Garrard much better than Leftwich as a Fantasy option. The extra 25-50 yds rushing & occassional rushing TD is nice compared to what Leftwich offered. I'm smelling sleeper pick!!

by Just Another Falcon Fan (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 11:52pm

Minnesota seems like a likely destination for Leftwich. Hopefully not in time to replace Taverous for the first game, though.

I don't think Atlanta would trade for Leftwich, but if he was outright cut, then signing him to a backup role could happen.

by Alex (not verified) :: Fri, 08/31/2007 - 11:59pm

Why does his sack ratio compare favourably to guys like Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady?

Because he has very good pocket awareness. He isn't particularly good at moving around to avoid pass rushers, and his throwing motion is quite long, but having the presence of mind to start that throwing motion sooner than other QBs do (by knowing where the defenders are and how long you have before they reach you) goes a long way towards reducing his sack rate.

Also, the long throwing motion does have some distinct benefits:
His throws are much faster, and can go farther, because of his long wind-up. That helps him hit receivers that don't have much separation without as much risk of having the ball intercepted or knocked down, because his passes just get to the receivers too quickly for the defenders to react to them.

This ability to hit receivers that aren't as open also helps him to avoid sacks, because he can start his throwing motion before his receivers have much separation and still complete the pass. This is one reason Brett Favre has such a low sack rate, although he also has (or at least had) pretty good mobility, and a very fast release, which is why his sack rate has consistently been one of the lowest in the league.

by kibbles (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 12:31am

Re #19: 17: Well, to be fair, they didn’t create a QB controversy here because they’re getting rid of one of them so he won’t be around for a ‘controversy’. But they still added another point in their history of handling QB decisions poorly, both in making the decision last minute and getting rid of the better QB.

From what I hear, the entire locker room was in an uproar when it was announced, with players throwing objects. They certainly didn't like the news one little bit. I'd go so far as to say there was a little bit of controversy involved with that QB-related decision.

Also, I think this reinforces FO's ranking of Jacksonville's coaching staff, too.

Re #41: As a coach, you want your QB to be there ( healthy), and be your leader. Not some guy that’s always hurt, and skipping practice.

Like I said, I heard the Jacksonville locker room was in open revolt when Garrard was given the reins and Leftwich was cut, so Lefty must be doing SOMETHING right in the leadership department.

Re #64: So somewhere that needs a solid backup where Leftwich can take over later in the season if things don’t go right. Buffalo? Denver? Detroit?

I'd love Leftwich in Denver if this was June. Leftwich is like a bigger, better version of Patrick Ramsey. Since it's now almost September, I'm a little less excited about the proposition, since he doesn't have time to learn the offense at this point (there's a reason why rookie holdouts don't play in their rookie season). Besides, Leftwich would probably want to be out of town after a year, whereas we can probably get 3+ years out of Ramsey. I'm a big fan of stability at the backup QB position.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 12:47am

"Honestly what has Byron done to deserve a starting job?"

Been a whole lot better than Garrard.

I dont think Leftwich is a stud, but Garrard is below replacement level. Hes AWFUL.

I've been saying Del Rio was a bad coach for a while...this just pushes it further down.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 12:53am

Wow...I KNOW it's been a crazy few hours when Duff Soviet Union is defending me. That's more wacky than any of the breaking news stories. Not that I'm complaining, mind you :-)

#57: Spite is the ONLY way to explain this. Spite makes a person do very foolish and irrational things.

#58: Yes, Del Rio did do a great job of building the defense. Offense, not so much.

#59: Keeping Leftwich as a backup is certainly better and more prudent than letting him go and depending on Quinn Gray to take your team to the playoffs if Garrard is injured.

#63: I can see the Bears winning it all with Leftwich, in much the same way the 2000 Ravens won it all with Difler, who took over in midseason. Karma would be on their side, if nothing else.

#67: I brought it up specifically so that people wouldn't think I was saying Del Rio was racist just because he hated Leftwich personally, which he clearly does.

#72: Yup, anyone who could inspire his teammates at Marshall to literally carry him through a game must have *some* charisma and leadership qualities going for him. Also, my guess is that the upset players were throwing things because they suddenly remembered Garrard literally giving that Titans game away last year. I know that would get *me* angry enough to throw something.

by D (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 12:56am


I dont think Leftwich is a stud, but Garrard is below replacement level. Hes AWFUL.

DPAR begs to differ. Last year Garrad had a DPAR 12.2 and DVOA of -2.1%. For comparison. Leftwich had 3.7 DPAR and -8.7% DOVA. I'm not saying Garrad is better, just that you should check the numbers before making statements like that.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 12:59am

To think, there was a time when I thought this season might mark the end of both sides of the Curse of Boselli. But Charles Spencer is on PUP, with Kubiak saying he may not play this season, and Garrard will be in position to complete more passes to Demarcus Faggins and co. Sigh. Personally, I could deal with occasionally losing to Jacksonville if it meant we were allowed a real live NFL left tackle.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 1:07am

"DPAR begs to differ. Last year Garrad had a DPAR 12.2 and DVOA of -2.1%. For comparison. Leftwich had 3.7 DPAR and -8.7% DOVA. I’m not saying Garrad is better, just that you should check the numbers before making statements like that."

Remember, DVOA isnt a measure of a player, but a measure of that player and the players around him. Jacksonville's line is one of the best in the league, and they had a pair of phenominal running backs.

Yes, Garrard played better than Leftwich this year, but Leftwich is the better QB, and Garrard is below replacement level.

Garrard: 13.2

Leftwich: 2.3
Garrard: -9.5

by D (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 1:24am

Actually, Garrad played just above replacement level in 2004 (+1.2). I generally agree that Leftwich is the superior player, but I'm simply trying to point out that while Garrad may be believe average he is still better than replacement level. (At least he has been for the past three seasons). I only included their DVOAs as a comparison.

by D (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 1:30am

As an addendum to what I just said, if your argument is that he could come in at below replacement level this year because teams will have more game film, I could understand your statements. That said, as a Bears fan I have had the opportunity to watch many sub-replacement level QBs, and I'm guessing that Garrad will be better than that (especially if you consider his rushing ability).

by Alex (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 1:30am

#65- If he wasn’t suggesting that Jack Del Rio is racist, then why bring it up?

Because he was suggesting that a white HC had a strong, unfounded, irrational hatred for a black player, one who plays at a position where, throughout NFL history, black players have often been kept from playing due to racism. Without specifically stating otherwise, someone would've said that he was accusing Del Rio of racism, and the ensuing flamewar would've completely distracted us from Del Rio's hilarious, mindless idiocy.

From the article:
"To make a decision this bold requires some strong conviction, and I have that," Del Rio said.

Too bad he doesn't have much in the way of intelligence. And really, how strong can his conviction be, if he was saying all this time that he was sure Leftwich was his starter? Do people with "strong conviction" change their minds about highly important matters at random?

by Sergio (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 1:43am

I'm only on comment 4 so far, but I just want to say...

I just traded (on Wednesday) Maurice Jones-Drew and Byron Leftwich for Donovan McNabb and Marshawn Lynch (this obviously on a fantasy league, and one that seriously favors QBs).

I feel like I'm ripping the guy off... should I give Donovan back?

by Alex (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 1:44am

51: Leftwich couldn’t have been kept as a backup. You don’t pay a backup 5 million to sit on the bench.

Well, as long as you're starter is making backup money (which I'm sure Garrard is), then you have the luxury of keeping a more expensive player at the backup spot. Not that it's necessarily the best decision, but still, with their QB depth, it would have probably been better.

by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 1:55am

80, I made a half-ass try to start that flamewar on the ESPN Conversation on this story (it's a lot of fun to troll there, just so many morons there). A few people took the bait. I even qualified it such that someone who understood sarcasm would know I was joking, and still some jumped on it because, well, those boards are full of morons.

I think it would be great if the Bears took on Leftwich and told him this year he probably wouldn't play, but have an option for next year with an agreement that if the Bears didn't re-sign Rex, that the option would be exercised and he'd compete for (and frankly, probably win) the starting job, and if the Bears kept Rex (because he was good) that they'd let him go elsewhere so he could have a shot at starting. Would be reasonable gamble for Leftwich to have the opportunity to go to a good team where he might be able to start next year with a year to learn that offense, but also set him up to be a free agent anyway in case Rex makes a big improvement this year and the Bears keep him around.

Bears fans would LOVE Leftwich. Our fan base would eat up having a guy who played on a broken leg. And if Rex is no better this year than the last, Leftwich would be a definite improvement. Who knows, given Rex's injury history, there's even a chance Leftwich could see the field this year for the Bears.

by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 1:58am

81: No, because just giving Donovan back would make the trade a ripoff of you. If you mean making an offer of sending Donovan back on a fair offer (or one slightly tilted to your trading partner) you could do that to keep good relations with him. Or you could just cackle at your good fortune. Sseriously, did anyone actually see this coming? Not your fault.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 2:04am

Wow, now ALEX defends me??? I'm touched. No, seriously. This just gets more and more surreal...

I can't believe people finally are understanding what I'm saying. Maybe I'm just doing a much better job of posting this month or something.

82: Exactly. By keeping Lefwich around their salary cap is literally no worse than it already was this season, and they can just release Leftwich before next season. Just what are they going to need more cap money this year for anyway? Picking up some other QB in desperation if Garrard gets injured?

by Alex (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 2:15am

I just traded (on Wednesday) Maurice Jones-Drew and Byron Leftwich for Donovan McNabb and Marshawn Lynch (this obviously on a fantasy league, and one that seriously favors QBs).

I feel like I’m ripping the guy off… should I give Donovan back?

No. The instant Dick Koetter was hired by the Jaguars, they had not one, but two past or present Head Coaches who had each screwed up a QB controversy last year. That should've tipped off anyone who was following the situation to the distinct possibility of Byron Leftwich not starting the entire season. They just should've known better.

Of course, they might still get the better of you if MJD takes every offensive snap as a direct snap from the shotgun, running for 2000+ yards and 20+ TDs, Leftwich finds a job with, say, the Falcons (maybe?) and has a respectable season, all while McNabb tears his other ACL (sigh), and Marshawn Lynch loses the entire season to a freak equipment cart accident. So don't feel too bad about it. ;)

by Alex (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 2:35am

Wow, now ALEX defends me??? I’m touched. No, seriously. This just gets more and more surreal…

Well, you're making good points, and supporting them with evidence. I know, it is surreal. ;)

Sseriously, did anyone actually see this coming?

I totally did, and I'm so glad I'm on record three weeks ago stating this would happen (check the thread linked in my name if you don't believe me).

Actually, I'm gloating way too much, and now I kind of feel bad about it. But it was just sooo perfect how things turned out. Well, except if you're a Jaguar fan...or Byron Leftwich...or anyone with Leftwich on your fantasy team...then I guess it pretty much sucks out loud.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't give props to Mike Tanier, whose article ranking NFL coaching staffs included this prophetic gem:

Del Rio changes offensive coordinators twice per year, like smoke alarm batteries. His latest assistant is Dick Koetter, the great communicator who stoked a quarterback controversy by switching quarterbacks every two days at Arizona State. We can see it now. "My starter is Byran Garrardpepper. Let's draft Sam Keller. What quarterback controversy?"

by Sergio (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 3:26am

re: 84, 86

Thanks, guys. Now I don't feel so bad. :)

The guy's one of my four closest friends, so he's not really mad (he knows nobody saw this coming). He might make me pay for the next lunch, though... :P

Still, this is probably going to end up as the biggest steal of that league. Consider that this league gives not only 6 pts for passing TDs, but we start 3 QBs, 2 RBs, and 3 WRs!

by Jonas (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 5:13am

That second to last place in the coaching staff rankings seems to be well deserved. Del Rio must have seen this day coming at least since June, or why else would The Jags have been interested in Culpepper? Perhaps they've been trying to trade Leftwich for months without having any luck, in which case they should maybe be cut a little slack. Still, the timing, cutting a designated starting QB a week before the first regular season game, can only mean that something went terribly wrong with the planning.

by Tom (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 5:45am

As a good a fit as Leftwich might be for the Bears, they will not be signing him. This is Grossman's last chance to prove he is an acceptable starter, and if he fails then either Griese or Orton goes in, and eventually Orton becomes the starter. Jerry Angelo (the GM) raves about Orton every preseason. Unless he's blowing tons of smoke about a 3rd string QB (which doesn't make a whole lot of sense) they really like him. Either Grossman or Orton is the future in Chicago, for better or worse.

by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 7:59am

#74: Trent Dilfer was better than our revisionist memories remember, but Byron Leftwich is way better than that.

See, here's the thing. Playing Garrard over Leftwich is a comically bad decision. But I DO agree that IF you're going to play Garrard over Leftwich, you have to get Leftwich off the team. He becomes a grade-A-double-plus distraction all year long if you don't. His presence would divide the locker room, get everyone bombarded by questions from the media all year long, and go a long way toward ruining any chance Garrard might have of succeeding.

I don't have a problem with that *particular* part of Del Rio's shenanigans. It's the rest of it that make just have to laugh at him--first, for irrationally despising Leftwich like he does, and second, for waiting until the week before the season starts to suddenly say "oh yeah, Garrard's starting and we're cutting Leftwich," even though--and I'm only quoting rumors here, but they're pretty persistent rumors-- half your team STRONGLY prefers Leftwich.

Somewhere, Tom Coughlin flipped on Sportscenter and got so excited he dropped his Cheez-Its box all over the floor jumping up off the couch: He might not be the first coach to suffer full-scale mutiny this season.

by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 9:01am

74- So Jack Del Rio should be blamed for building a good defense, but having a mediocre/bad offense, and not winning a big playoff game? I guess you guys were just as critical of Tony Dungy in Tampa. How about defensive "guru" Marvin Lewis building an offense around #1 pick Carson Palmer, but not having his specialty defense? I wonder if you guys have the same venom for Brian Billick and his craptastic offense in Baltimore, or Dungy before this year.

Releasing Byron is not a talent issue, it is a chemistry and money issue. Nobody is calling Quinton Gray a better player.

#90- Blowing up smoke about your 3rd string QB makes sense if you want to trade him for draft picks Ala Matt Schaub.

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 12:17pm

Del Rio has shown that he cannot be trusted to build an offense, he's changed coordinator and system every year.

Leftwich doesn't fit the systems in Chicago or Minnesota but would probably be successful with him if the teams were willing to make significant changes in order to accomodate him.

I had been telling people that I thought Jacksonville were the best bet this year, I thought they would win the South and you could get 30-1 on them. That advise now looks shaky but they still have a great running game and a great defense.

by OMO (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 12:37pm

Lewis and Dungy have not “sabotaged� their team with their horrible mismanagement of the most important position on the field. Del Rio has. For multiple years.

“Releasing Byron is not a talent issue, it is a chemistry and money issue�

And you know this is a chemistry issue from what evidence? Kibbles said player were "throwing objects" around when they heard the news? Chemistry? Talent? Doesn't sound like it.

“The easiest way to not suggest something, is to not bring it up in the first place.�

Pot. Kettle. Kettle. Pot.

"You lead by example, and you lead on the field, not by mouthing off to the media and talking a lot. Sometimes you don’t want a guy on the bench undermining your team. The Bucs paid Keyshaun Johnson to stay away from the team. If Byron is just going to get hurt again or waste roster space, why not trade him now?�

And now you are comparing Leftwich with Keyshawn...is there no end to the BS you will invent to self-validate your opinion?

"If the Jags start Garrard but keep Byron around, he might have cried, been a distraction and undermined the team the whole year. Maybe Jack sat Byron down and told Byron that he was going to start Garrard, and Byron went nuts and asked to be traded… and the Jags called his bluff.�

I guess not.

by MilkmanDanimal (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 1:29pm

Money issue? How is cutting Leftwich a money issue? What, with the cap space they're going to save they're going to run out and find somebody decent to use up the cap dollars with? The free agent cupboard is proverbially bare.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 2:43pm

Re 37:
It's not crappy QB play, I mean they're not the Bears of the past 10 years. It's the not that good to pretty good QB play and coaches who make Spurrier look like a man committed to his QB.

Re 50:
Right, Del Rio is such a mastermind and motivator. How's that wood coming?

Re 58:
Yeah, Baltimore and Carolina have never been the same since Del Rio left.

Re Leftwich and the Bears:
I think he'd be a good guy for the to pick up, but what exactly does Leftwich bring that Griese doesn't?

by Sean McCormick :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 8:24pm

I wouldn't be surprised if Baltimore ends up being Leftwich's final destination. The Ravens were very high on Leftwich going into the 2003 draft, and they tried hard to move up and get him before finally settling on Kyle Boller.

As for Jacksonville, keep an eye on Quinn Gray. He'll be playing the role of David Garrard this year, only he's a better passer. It's very possible that he could see signficant playing time.

by Alex (not verified) :: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 8:48pm

Re Leftwich and the Bears:
I think he’d be a good guy for the to pick up, but what exactly does Leftwich bring that Griese doesn’t?

Well, he's significantly more talented, and he's much younger, and is therefore more likely to improve, whereas Griese, at 32, isn't going to get any better than he is now.

by jaster (not verified) :: Sun, 09/02/2007 - 5:53am

I think I have solved the real mystery about this whole situation.

Chris ... your last name wouldnt happen to be Del Rio, would it?

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Sun, 09/02/2007 - 9:40am

Sign #622 That You Have Gone So Far Out On A Limb, You Can't Even Hear The Cracking Noise Behind You:

Using BRIAN BILLICK as an example of a coach supposedly getting a free pass from the media. Seriously, Chris -- Jeff Fisher, Herm Edwards, Parcells in Dallas,yes; but Billick? He hasn't gotten any slack from any media, local or national, since the 2000 season, when he told them off at the Super Bowl.

But the thought of Leftwich finally in Baltimore would make me smile -- if not this season, at least after this one, when he and Boller are both free agents and McNair would have maybe a year left at most -- and Troy Smith would be nowhere near ready (if ever) to take over. Ozzie would be so happy to also clear the worst trade he ever made off his ledger -- the deal with New England that enabled the Boller pick.

by Chad Gerson (not verified) :: Mon, 09/03/2007 - 1:19am

If you play Fantasy Football on ESPN.com, check out what the news blurb was about Garrard playing all of the Jags' last preseason game: "This move is more about keeping Leftwich out of harm's way, than Garrard passing him on the depth chart."


As Colts fan however, I couldn't be happier! :)