David Garrard is ready to be the other man.
During his nine years as a quarterback in the NFL, Garrard has been on both sides of a quarterback controversy. In 2006 and again in 2007, Garrard battled with Byron Leftwich to start for the Jaguars — a battle eventually won by Garrard. Then in 2010, Garrard was on the wrong side of the battle when first-round pick Blaine Gabbert won the starting job and Jacksonville released the veteran quarterback.
Now after two injury-plagued years in which he hasn’t played a single snap of football, Garrard is in New York where he will look to wrestle the starting job away from Mark Sanchez.
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“It seems like the last few years, everywhere I’ve been has been a little bit of a quarterback competition [and] a lot of hype with it. [It's] a little bit different here — a few more cameras up here,” Garrard said on Thursday. “Still, what it comes down to is between the lines out there and the way you perform on the field, the way you perform in practice, training camp, preseason games. To me, that will be the deciding factor in who is on the field, who is the starting quarterback on day one. And that’s how it should be.”
Sanchez has struggled the last two years but 2012 was a year marked by ineptness en route to a 6-10 record and another missed trips to the playoffs. Under new general manager John Idzik, the competition mantra is being instilled in the organization and Garrard is expected to be much more than a veteran mentor, he’s coming in to compete and perhaps start.
For this first time in what will be his fifth season in the league, Sanchez will have to win a job that was handed to him during his rookie year in 2009. Despite being plagued by injuries and having not thrown a pass since 2010, Garrard is already an enticing option when compared to Sanchez.
He thinks he can regain the form he showed with the Jaguars in 2010 when he threw for 2,734 with 23 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
“I’ve been a No. 1 quarterback before, as long as I’m healthy, as long as I’m able to continue to work with the team and I don’t have setbacks with my knee or back or anything like that, then I know that I have the ability to,” Garrard said. “But I can’t talk about it, I have to go out there on the field and do it. I’ve been trying to be the No. 1 guy for the last two years and just one thing after another hasn’t allowed that. So right now I can’t talk about where I want to be, I want to show that.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.