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His time has come


David Garrard believes he's at a point in his development as a quarterback that he can lead the team to a championship.

"I really do," Garrard told reporters Friday evening, a short time after Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio announced that Garrard would replace Byron Leftwich as the team's starting quarterback. "We were so very close last year. We played a lot of good teams we actually beat. Having grown more this year, I should be better."

He has been a better quarterback, for sure, this summer. He began a surge in the second full week of training camp that carried him through the preseason with a 113.4 passer rating.

His supporters are cheering the move but his critics are quick to point to Garrard's tendency for turnovers. An objective look at Garrard would indicate the elimination of his negative plays are all that separates him from being the complete package, which is to say a quarterback who can beat you with his arm and with his legs.

"I have to try not to do so much. I love making plays but the game is bigger than me. It's a team effort," Garrard said.

He claims to have put his tendency to force passes into coverage behind him. His remarks to reporters clearly indicate he believes the light has gone on.

"I feel like I can definitely take care of the ball. I plan on doing a great job this year with the ball. I think I've grown enough to throw the ball into the ground if there's nothing there," Garrard said.

Garrard had just completed a weightlifting session on Friday and was resting on a couch in the players' lounge when he got the news that he was "The Man."

"I had no idea any of this was brewing or going on at all," he said. "It's truly a dream come true. I really believe the Lord felt it was my time."

His wife is due to give birth to the couple's first child and the due date is perfect: the bye week. Garrard and his wife Mary are expecting a boy.

Garrard overcame a serious bout with Crohn's Disease in 2004. He continues to undergo treatment to control the disease but he said: "I have no problem with Crohn's."

The greatest adversity Garrard has had to overcome in his career, however, occurred this past February when it was announced Leftwich was being reinstated as the team's starting quarterback. He immediately faced the challenge of accepting the demotion gracefully.

"I could've handled things totally different. I had family members who wanted me to come back down here and raise cane. I truly felt I got a great opportunity last year to seal the deal for myself and it just didn't happen, and it didn't happen because of a few plays. That's why I didn't blow up. If I had played great, I may have had more to say, but I felt I had an opportunity," Garrard said.

He sure has an opportunity now.

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