David Garrard passed one of his first tests as a pro quarterback today. Garrard, the fourth-round draft choice from East Carolina, proved he's resilient.
Yesterday, Garrard was intercepted four times in five passes. So, this afternoon, in the Jaguars' only practice of the day, Garrard was facing his first bounce-back test.
The result was a performance that would've drawn raves had it been in a game. He was decisive, accurate and athletic-looking throughout the practice, then, in a practice-ending two-minute drill, Garrard was sharp with his passes in moving the offense into scoring position.
"He handled that pretty well," coach Tom Coughlin said of Garrard and the two-minute offense. "Today he seemed to come back and do well. He was a little bit upset by the interceptions. It's a good lesson for him."
Garrard has remained confident but humble in self-assessment to the media during this training camp, after having made some regrettably bold predictions on the day he was drafted.
"I can tell I'm picking things up more. It's not complicated. It's just learning their system. Football is football. It just takes time," Garrard told reporters earlier this week.
He remains buoyed by the fact Coughlin has yet to sign a veteran backup to starting quarterback Mark Brunell. Garrard wants to prove to Coughlin in this preseason that acquiring a veteran backup is not necessary.
"That gives me a little motivation to go out and do well. My goal is to make the coaches feel comfortable I can play," Garrard said, then adding: "My fun comes later on in my career when I have a better handle on what I'm doing."
Shortly after he was drafted and his remarks to the media appeared in print, Garrard phoned Brunell. "I called him and assured him I wasn't the cocky guy it sounded like," Garrard said.
Tuesday's practice provided Garrard with all of the humility he needed, but his confidence and his coach's soared this afternoon.
â€¢ Wide receiver Micah Ross suffered a knee injury, the condition of which will be revealed following an MRI exam.
â€¢ Safety James Boyd has become the Paul Krause of the Jaguars; he just keeps making interceptions. Last summer, the rookie from Penn State had at least a dozen interceptions in training camp, and he's on pace to break that mark this year. "He's had a good camp. He's come back in shape and ready to go. He's pretty much had an interception in each practice," Coughlin said of Boyd, who intercepted a Brunell pass that was tipped by a receiver during a goal-line drill. Boyd played very little last year but managed to make "the play of the year," the pass-defense that caused bottles to rain down onto the field in Cleveland.
â€¢ Four NFL officials were on hand to work the practice. They flagged wide receiver Patrick Johnson for pass interference against cornerback Jason Craft, who had Johnson covered step-for-step down the left sideline on a deep pass. "Jason is having a real good camp," Coughlin said emphatically.
The Jaguars practice once on Thursday -- at 8:40 a.m. -- before combined practices against the New Orleans Saints at 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Friday at the Jaguars' Alltel Stadium practice fields.