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Possible change at QB


Jack Del Rio told reporters this afternoon that he would change the defensive strategy his team employed during the Jets' 94-yard, game-winning touchdown drive, and he's considering replacing Byron Leftwich with David Garrard at quarterback for this Sunday night's game against Tampa Bay.

"I believe as a staff we could've done a better job. I don't believe we stayed aggressive enough. I want to stay more aggressive at the end of that game defensively," Del Rio said.

The Jaguars held a 10-6 lead with three minutes to play in Sunday's game, when the Jets began an 11-play, 94-yard touchdown drive that sent the Jaguars to their ninth loss this year. The Jaguars attempted to protect that lead with a three-man rush, eight-men-in-coverage look, though the Jaguars had kept the Jets touchdown-less for 57 minutes with a more aggressive scheme.

Quarterback Chad Pennington only needed 2:34 to drive his offense to the winning touchdown. He did so mostly by throwing five check-down passes for 39 yards to running back Curtis Martin. At no time in the drive was Pennington pressured or was he forced to make a difficult throw.

"The thought process was that Pennington is not a guy who holds the ball. The thought was to give them a dose of drop-eight. We had a ball thrown to us on that last drive that we didn't catch," Del Rio said, referring to a possible interception by strong safety Donovin Darius. "If I had to do it again, I'd give them that same look with pressure."

It was expected that today's press conference would focus almost entirely on that decisive drive and the Jaguars' conservative-defense strategy, but Del Rio one-upped that storyline with his announcement that a change may be forthcoming at quarterback.

"I am giving some thought to David Garrard," he said. "David Garrard is a promising quarterback. We'll decide whether it's time to give him a look."

Del Rio suggested he might announce a decision on Sunday's starter on Wednesday, when the team begins preparation for the Bucs. In Giants Stadium Sunday, Leftwich was 17 of 33 for 172 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and a 54.1 passer rating. Only Drew Brees and Kyle Boller are beneath him in the AFC passer ratings.

More importantly, Leftwich has struggled in each of the last two games and may have hit a rookie plateau. "We're in need of more productivity," Del Rio said.

"We want to win, first. A spark, we'd have to believe, is something we're getting," he said of a decision to make a switch at quarterback.

Del Rio said Mark Brunell is also nearing the day when he'll be physically able to return to action. Brunell had elbow surgery in early October.

"Probably getting close. He's getting healthier. Probably not too far off," Del Rio said of Brunell. But Brunell is not thought to be an option for this Sunday's game. Garrard would be that option.

"We're discussing the best way to go for us. I haven't made any statement other than we're considering it. I'll lean on 'Shack's' experience," he said of personnel director James Harris, "but, ultimately, it'll be my call."

Leftwich was off to a promising start against the Jets, but threw an interception on a third-and-two play at the Jets' three-yard line on the final play of the first quarter. He struggled for the rest of the game.

Should the Jaguars have run the ball on that play?

"I'm not going to engage in second-guessing my staff. Ultimately, it falls on my shoulders. I just want to score points. I just want to do what we need to score points," Del Rio said.

What will that mean as far as this week's starting quarterback?

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