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Starting QB at issue


David Garrard was to split time with Byron Leftwich at quarterback in practice on Wednesday, as Leftwich was to appear as "questionable" on the Jaguars injury report with an injured left ankle.

Coach Jack Del Rio made that announcement at Wednesday's noon press conference. Del Rio reversed fields on his Monday comments and expressed regret in his decision to have allowed Leftwich to play in Houston on Sunday, despite the ankle injury. The Jaguars, of course, lost the game, 27-7.

"Upon further review … I had more time to go through things in detail and make sure I took a deep look. There's no question, there was a problem. I brought Byron in on Tuesday and showed him the plays I had questions about," Del Rio said.

"He's a proud guy, a tough guy, but we've got to find a way to communicate so I can do the right thing for our football team. He tried to go for the right reason, but it didn't go well," Del Rio added.

Asked to cite specific examples of how Leftwich was affected by his sore ankle, Del Rio said: "Driving away from center to hand the ball off. When I looked at the film early on Monday, I was looking at offense and defense. Later on Monday, I was able to examine him."

The possibility now exists that Garrard could get the starting nod in Philadelphia on Sunday. "Questionable" on the injury report means there's a 50-50 chance Leftwich will play.

"I've been worse off than I was last Sunday," Leftwich said on Wednesday, "and I don't want to blame not having a great game on my ankle. I've been in more pain so I'm not going to allow myself that excuse."

Asked if he'll be able to play this Sunday, Leftwich smiled and said, "I don't think that's going to be my decision."

Should he not have played in Houston?

"Does it matter, really?" Leftwich said. "I missed a few balls and I don't think my ankle had anything to do with it. That's my opinion.

"All I want to do is get on the field Sunday and get this bad taste out of my mouth. I'm just trying to get the ankle right," he added.

Del Rio declined to provide specifics of Leftwich's injury. "There's not a break or disruption of ligaments. There's nothing major going on in there. It's sore," he said.

Leftwich fractured that ankle late last season and missed five games. He awakened last Friday to soreness and swelling that caused him to miss practice that day.

"It's totally new. Everybody is going to say it's something from last year and it's not," Leftwich said. "It's something from the Redskins game."

"We're going to split the reps today and get that position ready to go," Del Rio said of the quarterback position.

On two other injury fronts, the news was improved but still included doubt. Defensive tackle Marcus Stroud was to be listed as "doubtful" on the injury report, as Stroud continues to battle his ankle injury. Wide receiver Matt Jones was to be "questionable" with a hamstring.

"I told (Stroud) I'd like him to try to practice (on Thursday). We'll see. It's closer," Del Rio said. "Matt is going to return to practice (on Wednesday). There's a more optimistic look about those guys this week."

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