David Garrard not the only starter in need of walking papers
The Jaguars shocked the NFL world Tuesday, just five days before the season opener, by releasing expected starting quarterback David Garrard and announcing Luke McCown would take his place.
Jacksonville’s timing was nearly unfathomable, but maybe some other teams should take a cue from the Jags. With Week 1 right around the corner, we present a quartet of QBs that probably deserve their walking papers, too.
• Alex Smith, San Francisco: We may as well start with the obvious. This will be the seventh consecutive season that the 49ers have tried to turn Smith into a starter. So far, they’re 0-for-6 — a mark known in sports these days as an “Adam Dunn.”
San Francisco drafted Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft, with the hope that he could eventually take over the starting job. Why wait? The only reason to keep Smith at this point is that the 49ers gave him a fully-guaranteed $4 million contract, so unlike Garrard’s situation in Jacksonville, they wouldn’t gain anything financially by axing Smith. What they would gain, on the other hand, is a chance to finally move forward at quarterback.
• Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle: You know what one of the most popular reactions to the Garrard news was on Twitter Tuesday? That Seattle should give Garrard a call.
Why? Because the Seahawks are currently committed to Jackson, who has never shown much as an NFL quarterback beyond the ability to scramble. This preseason, the Seattle offense has been a mess, with the offensive line blocking like they’re playing in a no-contact flag football league and Jackson firing the ball over the place when he does have time.
If Jackson’s proven anything in his 20 NFL starts and 36 appearances, it’s that he just doesn’t have a great feel for the quarterback position. His career numbers — 24 TD passes, 22 interceptions and a 76.6 QB rating — show that off.
• Rex Grossman, Washington: And speaking of quarterbacks with mediocre career numbers …
In eight NFL seasons Grossman has thrown a total of 40 TD passes and 40 interceptions. His career QB rating of 70.9 is just one point higher than what Brett Favre posted in 2011, when even he decided it was time to walk away. The last time Grossman played in a regular season game without committing a turnover was Nov. 16, 2008 in mop-up duty against Green Bay.
Even as quarterback of Chicago’s 2006 NFC-winning team, Grossman turned it over 25 times in the regular season and coughed up three interceptions and two fumbles in the playoffs, including 2 picks and a fumble in the Super Bowl.
Thinking that Grossman is going to suddenly turn his career around as the Redskins’ 2011 starter is foolish.
• Matt Hasselbeck, Titans: I get Tennessee’s Hasselbeck signing. I really do.
The Titans wanted a veteran with a strong locker-room presence to show No. 8 overall pick Jake Locker the way. So is that all Tennessee is trying to accomplish this season — to give Locker time to adjust to the NFL?
If not, it’s hard to see the reasoning behind the three-year, $20 million contract Tennessee handed Hasselbeck. The 35-year-old Hasselbeck, aside from a pair of miraculous performances in the playoffs, had a subpar 2010 (12 TDs, 17 interceptions).
He also had a subpar 2009 (75.1 QB rating), a miserable and injury-plagued 2008 (five TDs, 10 INTs, 57.8 QB rating in seven games) and has made it through just one full season since 2006. Maybe Hasselbeck doesn’t deserve a pink slip — his mentorship of Locker could be invaluable — but Tennessee’s ceiling for this season can’t be very high with a rapidly-aging QB at the helm.