No, really – Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver recently opined that the cure for whatever ails his team's offense is for quarterback David Garrard(notes) to be more like Best Quarterback of All Time (2009 version) Peyton Manning.
"I tell a story about Peyton Manning(notes) when [Indianapolis] drafted Pierre Garcon(notes) and Peyton Manning drove three hours twice a week because this kid couldn't come to the OTAs and train because of his graduating class," Weaver recently told the media. "He drove three hours twice a week to throw to this kid, to teach him how to be a pro, how to work. We need to do more of that here. David just needs to do more of that with our young receivers."
While it should be stated that Weaver didn't go after Garrard's work ethic to any specific degree, the message seemed clear – if the offense doesn't gel in 2010, it's on Garrard.
"We've got some good receivers. You've got a [Mike] Sims-Walker, you've got a Mike Thomas(notes) who's a playmaker, an ascending player, you've got a Jarett Dillard(notes) who got hurt this year, you've got a Marcedes Lewis(notes). We've got some guys that can do it now. We need to work with those guys with David and make sure that they have so much confidence on a couple routes for each one of those players. Depending on down and distance, I have the confidence that player is going to be where he's supposed to be and I'm going to get the ball and I'm going to get the first down and move the chains. Those are the kinds of accountability things that we're talking about here."
Fair enough, Wayne – let's talk accountability. In 2008, you fielded a team that had four different first-round busts as receivers – Matt Jones(notes), Reggie Williams(notes), Troy Williamson(notes), and Lewis. Garrard was harassed all season behind a porous offensive line, and the offense was completely overhauled before the 2009 season. It's true that Garrard must develop chemistry with his receivers, but when you give him an entirely new class of receivers (Lewis excepted), two rookie tackles, and you wrap it all up in a run-based offensive plan because Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) is your best player, how on earth is Garrard supposed to resemble Manning?
Manning has enough of a veteran offense to being in new players without too much drama, and he's involved in a system that plays to his strengths. Would Garrard produce as Manning does in that environment? Hardly, but it's foolish to assume that Manning's willingness to travel and throw balls to a young receiver pays any real dividends on the field unless those players are in an offense that's already established. Jay Cutler(notes) threw at Vanderbilt buddy Earl Bennett's(notes) Pro Day, and you didn't see those two guys ripping up the NFL this last season, did you?
Then again, this could all be a preface by Weaver to the drafting of a new quarterback; one with grit and gusto and the eyes of a champion and a Q rating that's off the charts – yes, America, Weaver has endorsed the idea of taking Tim Tebow solely to boost team visibility. After all, Tebow would drive to the homes of every Jags draft pick, and convert their entire families for free. So maybe it's more about pushing Garrard out of town and creating a reason to do so? Weaver's comments about his quarterback don't make much sense in the abstract; perhaps there's another plan in mind.
- Peyton Manning
- Wayne Weaver
- David Halberstam