Leftwich likely to go on IR

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Jack Del Rio told reporters at Wednesday's press conference that Byron Leftwich is a "candidate for injured reserve," then volunteered a perspective on the Jaguars' future at the quarterback position.

"The question's going to be asked," Del Rio said of David Garrard's chances of claiming the long-term starting job. "David's making the most of his opportunity right now. The most important thing for him and for us is to continue to focus on helping our team win. We're 3-1 since we made the switch. The future stuff will take care of itself in the future. I don't see where we benefit discussing what will happen next year."

Leftwich underwent surgery on his left ankle in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday. Renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery. Dr. Andrews also performed surgery on Jaguars safety Donovin Darius on Tuesday. Darius sustained a broken ankle in Monday night's win over the Giants. Darius also had a labrum injury addressed surgically by Andrews on Tuesday.

"I don't think we'll get (Leftwich) back for the regular season," Del Rio said.

Garrard turned in what the Jaguars coach said was his best performance of this season, throwing for 249 yards and rushing for 31 yards in the win over the Giants.

"He's better this year than he was last year," Del Rio said of Garrard, who is 8-4 as a starter in his career.

"I feel like it's my opportunity to help this team win. If that comes with proving I can be the future of the team at quarterback, then so be it," Garrard said.

"That's probably the most comfortable I've ever felt," he added of Monday night's game. "The more snaps you get, the game will slow down for you."

Del Rio commented on the manner in which Darius was injured. Darius' ankle was broken while being blocked low by Giants backup tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.

"It was away from the ball. I sent (video tape) into the league. I don't know that I'd classify it as illegal or dirty. It was avoidable," Del Rio said of the block. "It's right there on the borderline whether his head was ahead or behind. I think it's avoidable. We don't teach it."

Darius is the third starter the Jaguars have lost for the season on defense, yet, the Jaguars' defensive ranking continues to climb. The Jaguars are now third in overall defense; sixth against the run and fifth against the pass.

"We have to continue to find a way. We need to continue to plug guys in and find a way to win," Del Rio said.

The Jaguars coach also made a point of singling out his offensive line's success. The Jaguars are third in the league in rushing and in sacks allowed.

"It starts with your ability to open holes and protect your quarterback," he said.

The Jaguars now face consecutive road games – at Buffalo and at Miami – against teams that want to climb back into the race for the final wild-card playoff spot. The Jaguars and the Chiefs are the current leaders for the final wild-card spot.

"We know you don't crown anybody in September or October. You crown them when it's done," Del Rio said.

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