SSOG 1/15/08: Finished 12th in PPG among QBs with at least 8 starts, despite being a first year starter on a run-heavy team. I view his situation as one that has a lot more room to improve than to regress (a declining Taylor means more pass attempts, and the WRs have nowhere to go but up). His efficiency stats are absurd, especially given his receiving corps, and it's not a one-year thing, either- Garrard ranked 10th in yards per attempt back in 2006. Unexpectedly enough, Garrard actually ties with Tom Brady for third in the NFL in yards per completion, meaning his label as a "game manager" isn't deserved- he's not just taking the safe underneath stuff here. Outside of the age and the amount of time spent as a backup in the NFL, David Garrard reminds me a lot of Ben Roethlisberger in his first two seasons, at least from a statistical standpoint. Just with a little less gunslinging (meaning slightly lower ypa and significantly lower int%). I'm making a point to pay more attention to him next year, but what I saw this year was all positive. I'd put him over Favre, Bulger, and Hass.
Sons of the Tundra 1/17/08: I've moved him up again since you posted this. It pains me more than you know to admit this, but I couldn't have been more wrong about the JAX QB situation. It wasn't that Leftwich is terrible because he's not. I still believe he would be a significant upgrade for quite a few teams in this league. I just severely underestimated Garrard's ability and football IQ. He's not simply a good quarterback, he's a tremendous team leader and probably one of the smartest players in the league.
We both watch the Jags a lot, but I view his situation a lot differently than you do. You said that you see him as a guy who has a lot more room to improve than regress, and you pointed to a declining Fred Taylor and receiving production that has to go but up. I see him as a guy with impressive efficiency because of the dominance of the running game. You don't want Garrard passing a ton. You want him taking advantage of a strong running game to open up the passing game, which is what he's done this season. I don't think he's the type of QB to carry an offense with his arm, and that is why I think his ceiling is right about where he is now. It's not a bad place to be, but I wonder what will happen to his efficiency if the running game takes even a small step back from dominance.
SSOG 1/17/08: You mentioned that Garrard's efficiency was good because of his running game, and you'd want his attempts to stay down. I argue that the same thing was said about Roethlisberger. Efficiency is partly dependent on situation, but a lot of it is an actual skill. More pass attempts is almost always a good thing. Maybe the difference between 550 and 600 does more harm than good, but when you only have about 400, more is good, even if the only way to get more is to have a worse running game. And it's not like the running game would be that much worse, since MJD would still be around- it just wouldn't be able to take on the sheer bulk of carries it can do now.
Sons of the Tundra 1/20/08: I agree with you that the same argument was used against Roethlisberger. I fought against that argument because it was obvious to me that Roethlisberger was a HOF caliber talent at QB. Garrard is not. To me, that makes a whole lot of difference. It's subjective, I know, but that's how I see it when I watch them play. Roethlisberger is a much more dynamic passer. I've grown to like David Garrard a whole lot as a QB, but I think he passed better in 2007 than he ever will again.
SSOG 1/20/08: I totally agree that Garrard isn't the talent that Roethlisberger is. I still think that more attempts are better, and I think with even minor upgrades to the WR corps we could see Garrard pass just as well as he did this year. Get him a TO or a Moss and watch his numbers fly through the roof.