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Challenge accepted


David Garrard understands what his coach is saying and agrees with him. Garrard will compete without rocking the boat.

"Nobody comes into the league to be a backup, (but) I'm not putting anything out there to apply pressure through the media. That's not how it works. You have to work your butt off and when your time comes you produce," Garrard said.

Coach Jack Del Rio said he wants Garrard to compete, but to do so as a backup quarterback. Though those words might seem confusing to some fans, their meaning is very clear to Garrard. He understands the delicate nature of the quarterback position.

"He's saying it for motivation. He's saying it to say we haven't forgotten about you; I want to light a fire under you," Garrard said.

Garrard lit a fire under the offense in the second half of last Saturday's preseason opener in Miami. Garrard threw touchdown passes of 62 and 55 yards, completing a performance that included 172 yards passing and a 139.2 passer rating.

"It's competition but it's competition at a different level and at a different position. It's not the same. It's his job to lose," Garrard said, referring to starting quarterback Byron Leftwich.

The Jaguars have never wavered in their commitment to Leftwich and Garrard knows it's possible he may be playing to attract a team that might trade for him and make him their starting quarterback.

"I don't like to talk about other teams, but that's the reality of it and this is a business," Garrard said. "I'm climbing Mt. Everest and it seems like I never get to the top, but I know there is a top. If my starting job isn't here, then it'll be somewhere some day."

Garrard believes Del Rio has challenged his backup quarterback to compete so he doesn't "get into the groove that I'm a backup. Any player's play is going to allow them the time they get," Garrard said.

"He had a great run," Garrard said of Leftwich's performance last season before an ankle injury in week 12 ended Leftwich's regular season. "It looked like it's definitely not going to be here. Then I got to play and got the fans behind me a little bit. I put myself into position that whenever my number is called I'm ready to go."

Garrard's preparedness is one of the Jaguars' great advantages. In Garrard, they may have the league's most talented backup, which gives the Jaguars security at football's most important position.

"The big cliché is you're only one play away, but it's so true," he said.

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