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Garrard looks sharp


Mark Brunell is from the West Coast, but it's David Garrard who rooted himself in the "West Coast offense" at East Carolina.

Garrard stood out in passing drills this morning, during the Jaguars' second practice of this three-day mini-camp at Alltel Stadium. Garrard's passes were on target throughout the morning workout, causing head coach Jack Del Rio to compliment his second-year passer.

"I see an athletic guy who made some nice throws this morning," Del Rio said of Garrard, who told reporters Friday he was puzzled by talk the Jaguars might select a quarterback with their first choice in the April 26 draft.

"That's great. He should feel that way," Del Rio said.

Garrard established himself as Brunell's backup last season and would like to be groomed as the eventual heir to the Jaguars starting quarterback job. At that, he would seem to have an advantage because he played in the "West Coast offense" throughout his career at East Carolina.

"It's simpler," Garrard said of the "West Coast offense" coordinator Bill Musgrave is installing in this mini-camp. "I don't have to think of where the guys are lined up. I know where they're lined up. It's simpler because this is what I'm coming from. It's a call-it-and-run-it offense. It's a quarterback-friendly offense."

Garrard wasn't the only Jaguars player to express excitement about the team's new offensive philosophy. Star wide receiver Jimmy Smith had a productive morning workout, then told reporters: "It creates a lot of one-on-one matchups. I've always wanted to be in a 'West Coast offense.' I've always wanted to know what it feels like. Now I'll get my opportunity."

Del Rio didn't make any proclamations about his team's progress. The new head coach was rather subdued in his post-practice comments.

"It will be better; it needs to be better," he said.

But his players seemed energized.

"He's laying down the foundation," free-agent defensive end Hugh Douglas said of Del Rio. "I'm pretty sure the expectations are high. You don't expect anything but a winning season and a playoff berth.

"They have a lot of talent on this team. I'm not taking anything away from my old teammates in Philadelphia, but I think the offense (here) is a little better," Douglas added.

On defense, 2002 first-round draft choice John Henderson was bothered this morning by a sore back, which has nagged Henderson in recent years.

"I guess he's got a problem with tightness. He'll have to stay on top of that," Del Rio said.

And on the personnel front, the Jaguars worked out tight end Johnnie Mitchell, a first-round pick of the Jets in 1992. Kyle Brady and Donovin Darius remained no-shows.

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