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Path clear for Garrard


David Garrard is likely to be the Jaguars' starting quarterback on Sunday against the Houston Texans. Coach Jack Del Rio acknowledged that likelihood at his Monday press conference.

"Byron (Leftwich) is about 85-90 percent and is probably not going to get better than that until he has a long time off. In my opinion, he's about as good as he's going to get," said Del Rio, who talked about the probable need for offseason clean-up surgery on Leftwich's left ankle.

"David is in a rhythm," Del Rio added. "I think he's an improving player right now. I'm more comfortable with his decision-making right now and that makes me more comfortable to stick with it."

Garrard has been the Jaguars' starting quarterback in the last two games, each of them having resulted in victory. He led a 37-7 dismantling of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, as Garrard threw for three touchdowns and a 120.6 passer rating.

"He's proven to his teammates and coaching staff he can move the football team and lead the football team," Del Rio added of Garrard.

Leftwich sustained an ankle injury the week of a 27-7 loss in Houston on Oct. 22. Leftwich played the whole game but suffered through his worst performance of the season. Del Rio has maintained that Leftwich is the team's number one quarterback and would return to the lineup when he is fully recovered, but Monday's news would suggest Leftwich won't make a full recovery until the season is over.

Del Rio praised several players for their performances in Sunday's win. Garrard got the team's game ball for offense. Rashean Mathis got it for defense and Josh Scobee for special teams.

Scobee has converted 10 consecutive field goal attempts. "In the wind, on the road, in the rain," Del Rio said.

Mathis intercepted two passes on Sunday, giving him a league-leading six for the season. "He's playing as well as he has since he's been here," Del Rio said.

Kyle Brady and Clint Ingram got atta-boys. "He's blocking at the point of attack as well as anybody in the league right now," Del Rio said of Brady. Ingram, a rookie, led the Jaguars in tackles.

Marcus Stroud will likely miss another game, but Del Rio expects Stroud to play against the Giants on Nov. 20. Injury concerns from Sunday's game are Mathis, John Henderson and Jorge Cordova, all of whom have hamstring injuries.

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