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World of Sports: David Garrard Struggles

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard had his worst start in recent memory on Sunday. During the Jags’ 38-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers, the 32-year-old Garrard was benched in favor of backup Luke McCown. Garrard was sidelined with four interceptions, before returning to complete a touchdown pass to receiver Mike Sims-Walker. I lost faith in Garrard when he was hit by Charger and former Florida Gator Brandon Siler as he was throwing the ball. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew failed to block Siler, who was coming around the offensive line’s right side. Siler’s blow caused Garrard to be intercepted by Kevin Burnett. Garrard’s pocket awareness – especially after watching Siler’s play – needs vast improvement. Blame the offensive line or the play calling, but Garrard could have been better, too.

In their last three trips to the West Coast, the Jaguars have been outscored 99-16. Against the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Chargers, Jacksonville has allowed a combined 807 passing yards and nine passing touchdowns. In those games, Matt Hasselbeck, Alex Smith and Philip Rivers completed no less than 60 percent of their passes while turning the ball over only twice. After experimenting with leaving for the left coast road trips on Friday and Saturday, maybe Jack Del Rio and the Jaguars should try a Thursday next. Following the losses to the Seahawks and 49ers, the Jaguars recovered to defeat the St. Louis Rams, 23-20 and the Houston Texans, 23-18 – both victories at home. Jacksonville hosts the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday at EverBank Field.

After Chargers tight end Antonio Gates embarrassed the Jaguars with five receptions for 57 yards and two touchdowns, Jacksonville should have learned an important lesson. Linebackers Russell Allen, Kirk Morrison and Daryl Smith will have a difficult time against talented pass-catching tight ends. In the remaining 14 games, the Jaguars will face the likes of Brent Celek, Dallas Clark, Jason Witten, Owen Daniels and Chris Cooley. Those five TEs have a combined 10 Pro Bowl selections – six coming from Dallas’ Witten.

For 2010, the Jaguars are one of three NFL organizations to have player expenditures totaling less than $90 million. At $89.5 million, Jacksonville has the third-lowest amount in player compensation. The two lowest are the Kansas City Chiefs [$84.5] and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers [$80.8].

On the flip side, the five biggest spenders are the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks. The Redskins have an astronomical $178.2 million wrapped up in their 2010 roster.

So, it begs the question, who buys dinner when Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones go out to a fancy restaurant?

I do not find it silly to believe that in a few years the Detroit Lions will have legitimate opportunities to be a playoff contender. With quarterback Matthew Stafford, explosive back Jahvid Best and wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the future Lions could be very dangerous. Along with those three youngsters, free safety Louis Delmas and rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh have play-making abilities. And, to think that the 2008 Lions lost all 16 regular-season games – the only team to do so since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

If either head coach in Michigan State’s overtime victory over Notre Dame was going to suffer from a heart attack afterwards, I would have put my money on the Irish’s Brian Kelly. With a two-game losing streak, the successor to Charlie Weis must have high stress levels. However, it was Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio, who turned 54 last March, suffering from a heart attack early Sunday morning. According to The Associated Press, Dantonio went to Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital to have a stent placed in a blood vessel to increase flow. It must be stressful when your team pulls off a primetime win via a fake field goal. I guess the biggest win in college football this year will do that to a person.

Omitting present-day quarterbacks, does any NFL player make the game look as easy as Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez?

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Richard Miller is the host of “Miller On Sports” weekdays on ABC 1530 WBOB from 1pm until 2pm. Also, he hosts “Inside the Game” Saturdays from noon until 1pm, alongside Darrell Pasquale and NASCAR Andy. Listen live at www.1530wbob.com.

On Sunday, Richard covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for Sporting News Radio. He is also currently writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2011.

Follow Richard’s daily blog on MillerOnSports.com and his Twitter @MillerOnSports.
You can e-mail Richard at MillerOnSports@gmail.com

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