MJD's comments on Jags' QB situation not helping anyone

Posted June 27, 2011 @ 3:10 p.m.
Posted By Arthur Arkush

Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew needs a "no man."

Don't feel bad, though, MJD; everyone needs one.

A "no man" helps us resist the urge to say things we know are not going to benefit anyone by sharing.

MJD surely could have used one when he took to his Twitter page during the NFC championship game to unfairly blast Bears QB Jay Cutler, who sat out the second half after suffering a Grade II MCL tear.

And I'm sure by now most of you have heard the comments MJD made on NFL Network last week, when he openly questioned the club's drafting of rookie QB Blaine Gabbert.

"What we needed as an offense wasn't a new quarterback," he said, "we just needed another year amongst each other because we had a lot of new players.

"You see a team like the Patriots or the Steelers or the Colts, those guys (have) been in the same system for the 10, 12 years together, and so that's what we're trying to grow right now."

Before I go any further, I should mention that Jones-Drew backtracked on his comments a day later, saying they were taken out of context. He similarly attempted to deflect blame and change his tune following the Cutler firestorm he created back in January.

Being bold and speaking your mind is nothing new for MJD. But saying one thing, then blaming the media for construing it differently is far from bold.

I couldn't disagree more on MJD's position that his team did not need a new quarterback. I don't think anyone besides Jones-Drew is mistaking incumbent starter David Garrard for Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger or Peyton Manning. But beyond that, I'm really struggling to wrap my head around what Jones-Drew hoped to accomplish by throwing his GM and new teammate under the bus.

Obviously, he is loyal to Garrard. I get that.

But what did Gabbert do to deserve being alienated by the team's best player before they ever step on a field together?

Since being drafted, the rookie has gone out of his way on multiple occasions to praise not only Garrard, but backup QB Luke McCown.

I'm guessing that privately, Gabbert thinks he is the guy for the job. But he knows that saying as much isn't going to get him anywhere except being viewed as cocky and disrespectful.

Garrard also has said all the right things publicly.

"I think competition's healthy," Garrard told The Florida Times-Union last month. "My thing is the best man will play. The cream will rise to the top."

Does anyone honestly believe that Garrard isn't stewing inside?

Of course he is, but the fact that he has not complained and will allow the competition to be won or lost on the field is something for which he should be commended.

I don't know if MJD's comments will divide the locker room or not. I do know that as the face of the franchise and by far the club's most talented player, he commands respect. And young players have a tendency to listen and hang on to what the respected veterans have to say. For a young team such as the Jaguars, having good chemistry is critical. Having guys in the locker room playing favorites isn't exactly good chemistry.

GM Gene Smith didn't use the 10th overall pick in the draft because he thought Gabbert eventually might be good enough to supplant Garrard, who since becoming the starter in 2006 has the led the Jaguars to a 34-34 record in games in which he has started. Gabbert is going to play when he's ready, and he and Jones-Drew are going to need each other to be successful.

I know that if I were Smith or head coach Jack Del Rio, I would have a talk with MJD as soon as the lockout is lifted to ensure these are the last comments he makes on the subject. Garrard and Gabbert, not to mention Del Rio, who is coaching to save his job this season, have plenty on their plates without these kinds of distractions.