By: Mike O’Connor, Staff Writer
Early this afternoon, news broke that newly signed Jets’ quarterback David Garrard has decided to retire. The Jets brought him in to most likely offer a stable backup to Mark Sanchez and the rookie they planned on drafting, and some fans even considered him a possible starter. While nothing is completely official at this point, it appears that Garrard’s lingering knee problems will bring his promising comeback to an end.
The surprising news first broke the surface when Ian Rapoport reported that Garrard told two Jet teammates that he was leaving the Jets. This was further confirmed with this Adam Schein tweet at nearly 4:30 PM:
Text from Garrard: “Having to call it quits. My knee is not holding up. Continuing to swell after practices. Limiting what I can do.”
— Adam Schein (@AdamSchein) May 15, 2013
With this move, the Jets lose a veteran quarterback who would have been nice to have stashed on the depth chart in situations when a proven winner can get a shot in case of injury (not you, Greg McElroy). Like I said earlier, some fans were even going to the extent of calling Garrard a surprise starter. Personally, I think it’s a bit bold to give a player coming off of injuries and poor play that kept him out of football since 2010 the edge over Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez. However, no matter what kind of expectations you had for Garrard, the Jets got a bit unlucky today.
Yet, the overreaction from the media is puzzling. It was predictable, yes, but it doesn’t offer much logic. The argument that Sanchez is now more under pressure than ever to maintain the starting job over Smith is an extremely moot point. Only a select few NFL teams have a third string quarterback that they can insert into a high-intensity game and expect for them to be solid enough to come out with a win. Even Ryan Lindley could hold down a third string job, so I don’t see the drastic need to upgrade that people associate with the Jets’ lower quarterback depth chart.
Greg McElroy is hardly a proven passer, and he hasn’t even proven he can win outside of his Alabama days (not counting the Jets-Cardinals offensive breakout, sorry). However, it’s simply overkill to think that he can’t hold down a third string job, and that Garrard’s retirement requires another spot for a Free Agent quarterback. The 2013 Jets aren’t in a situation to shape up a reality show-worthy quarterback competition in camp, for there are just to many other areas in need of adjustment and focus.
Besides, to think that a battle royale between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith won’t produce a manageable quarterback for a Jets team that will be mildly competitive at best is irrational. I don’t mean to pour on the negativity, but teams with talent levels equivalent to the Jets don’t replace the luxuries that they have attained, then lost. I’d admit that the Jets have to cede a sacrifice in this Garrard situation, but even that is a stretch. Had Garrard been the player he was even before the worst of his injuries, he’d battle Geno Smith for the job, with Sanchez playing the role as the underdog.
Unless he were to have risen as the player he was in his prime, which was unbelievably unlikely considering his injuries, the Jets aren’t losing anything here. The verdict: there’s no need to replace David Garrard, especially considering that there was essentially no need for him to start with.