The Jacksonville Jaguars are going in another direction at quarterback this season.
Quarterback David Garrard was released on Tuesday, and the Jaguars handed over the title of starting quarterback to Luke McCown, just days before the season opener.
The move probably doesn’t come as a shock to Garrard who four years ago, was elevated to starting quarterback just days before Week 1, replacing Byron Leftwich.
Garrard’s release was described as a “pure football decision,” but the move will also save the team around $8 million this year.
After his release, Garrard took to Twitter to thank fans, saying:
“Thank you jaguar fans for an awesome ride! You are the best fans ever. You’ll always have a special place in my heart and my family’s heart!”
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio addressed the quarterback’s release, saying, “I had met with him a couple of weeks ago and brought him in and said, ‘Hey, listen, you’re my guy. I need you to get it going.’ He was given every opportunity. He was somewhat apologetic that he wasn’t able to deliver.”
Although the Jags drafted Blaine Gabbert with the 10th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft they still decided to go with the veteran, McCown, who played in only two games during the preseason.
Gabbert played in all four preseason games, and started the first game against the Patriots because Garrard was suffering from a sore back.
In three preseason performances, Garrard was 19-for-38 passing with no touchdowns and one interception. He was sacked three times.
Last year, he threw 23 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, but only threw for 2,734 yards in 14 games, after throwing for over 3,500 yards the year before. Since the 2008 season, Garrard was sacked 117 times.
Garrard’s best year came in 2007 when he was only intercepted three times.
“I was shocked by the decision,” tight end Marcedes Lewis said. “They obviously felt it was time to go in a different direction.”
-With Associated Press