David Garrard might be better suited as a backup. At least against the Carolina Panthers.
Jacksonville's second-team quarterback mostly struggled with -- and against -- the starters, fumbling three times, getting intercepted and getting sacked once in a 17-10 preseason loss to the Panthers. He suffered another interception in the third quarter against Carolina's backups.
It was hardly the outing Garrard wanted when he was given a chance to showcase his skills with the first-team offense. It also solidified his spot behind starter Byron Leftwich, essentially ending a mild quarterback controversy that began last season when Garrard went 4-1 in place of an injured Leftwich.
"It wasn't as sharp as I know he can be," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said.
Del Rio decided to let Garrard play extensively with the first-team offense to better evaluate the fifth-year quarterback. But Carolina's defense, which was dominant in its preseason opener against Buffalo last week, proved to be more than he could handle.
Leftwich started the game and played two series. He was 4-for-4 for 52 yards and was sacked twice. Garrard fared much worse in relief.
He fumbled his second snap of the game and was intercepted three plays later when his pass sailed over the head of Ernest Wilford and into the hands of Colin Branch. Garrard fumbled another snap on Jacksonville's next possession but completed three passes to put the Jaguars (1-1) in position for Seth Marler's 50-yard field goal that tied the score at 3.
Carolina (2-0) made it 10-3 after Nick Goings scored from a yard out with 26 seconds to play in the first half. The short TD run followed a pass interception penalty against Scott Starks, who was draped all over Keyshawn Johnson in the end zone.
Instead of taking a knee and ending the first half, the Jaguars tried to move the ball downfield with about 20 seconds remaining. But Julius Peppers, who also had a sack against the Bills, beat right tackle Maurice Williams and sacked Garrard deep in the backfield. Garrard fumbled for a third time, and defensive lineman Mike Rucker picked up the loose ball and ran 31 yards for a score and a 17-3 lead.
Del Rio stuck with his first-team offense to open the third quarter, giving Garrard a chance to redeem himself against Carolina's backups. Garrard led the Jags to the 19-yard line, but Richard Marshall intercepted his pass to Wilford in the end zone.
Garrard finished 7-for-11 for 86 yards. Third-team quarterback Quinn Gray threw a late touchdown pass for the Jags.
Jake Delhomme was much better for the Panthers, who played again without Steve Smith. The All-Pro receiver sat out for precautionary reasons after missing 17 days of training camp because of a strained left hamstring.
Delhomme led the Panthers to a score on their opening possession for the second time in as many games. He completed a 40-yard pass to Keary Colbert on third-and-7, and John Kasey kicked a 22-yard field goal.
"We didn't do well," Jaguars safety Deon Grant said. "We let them drive all the way down the field. That's not our defense. We are not comfortable with what happened."
Delhomme played the entire first half and was 10-for-18 for 129 yards, but he also had two passes nearly intercepted.
Colbert and Drew Carter, battling for the No. 3 receiver spot, got significant playing time with Smith sidelined. Colbert caught two passes for 45 yards, and Carter had three receptions for 35 yards.