Byron Leftwich is ready to show Jaguars fans at Friday night's scrimmage the team's new passing game, its new hot receiver and a new philosophy that has put Leftwich in the driver's seat.
"Even though it's a new system, this is the most comfortable I've ever felt," Leftwich said, referring to new coordinator Dirk Koetter's offensive design. "I'm doing things I like to do. I like to run it," Leftwich said, meaning that he likes to be in command of the offense, which he now is.
Leftwich is armed with a system of audibles that has him energized for what this season might produce. Fans will be afforded a preview on Friday, in a seven p.m. scrimmage at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium that is free of charge to the public.
"When we're in bad situations, I have the power to get out of those bad situations. That's why I'm over here at 5:30 in the morning," Leftwich said, referring to Koetter's audibles system and the learning it requires.
In Leftwich's first two seasons, he played in Bill Musgrave's west coast offense, in which there are no audibles because adjustments are built in. Under Carl Smith the past two seasons, Leftwich had more change-the-play ability, but he would've preferred to have even more. Koetter has provided more; a lot more.
Leftwich will have more than Koetter's offense going for him in tonight's scrimmage. Leftwich will also have rookie wide receiver Mike Walker, who has turned in an eye-popping first-week-of-training-camp performance.
"He's ready to play right now," Leftwich said of Walker. "It's amazing a guy like that slips to the third round; especially a guy that polished and who ran a 4.3 at the combine."
After some rocky days in spring drills, the passing game has shown signs of blossoms in the first week of training camp. Walker has been a big hit, rookie John Broussard has stood out, and so have the tight ends.
"Those are the guys people are noticing more," Leftwich said of tight ends Marcedes Lewis, Greg Estandia, Jermaine Wiggins and even street free agent Richard Angulo, a big guy the Jaguars like. "The tight ends are part of the play now. Kyle (Brady) was more of a blocker. They should be a weapon for us."
All of the above has Leftwich happy to be back with the Jaguars, a decision head coach Jack Del Rio confirmed when he reinstated Leftwich as the team's starting quarterback in February.
"They watched me when I was healthy, and they watched other quarterbacks around the league that were available, and they came to that decision. I love the guys in that locker room and I respect coach Koetter a lot and I can't let him down," Leftwich said.