On Del Rio's assessment of Garrard

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

A coach and a quarterback always have a special relationship.

In Jacksonville, the one between Jack Del Rio and David Garrard may be entering a new phase.

I’m late chiming in on Del Rio’s Monday comments about Garrard, but still think they are worthy of review. Garrard

Asked if Garrard could play better, Del Rio was candid (which always gets applause from the AFC South Blog):

“He missed some things [Sunday], I don’t think there’s any question about that. We had Nate [Hughes] down the seam; we had Troy [Williamson] open. We had some things that I’m sure he’d like to have back. Mike Sims-Walker down there in the red zone, the ball sailed on him a little bit. I think he expects to play better, I think we expect to play better overall and we expect to be better starting Sunday.”

And two other comments of note on the subject:

On getting Garrard’s eyes down the field

“We’ve just got to execute. When the plays are there you’ve got to be able to take advantage of them, and there are some that were there; we didn’t take advantage of them. Here’s one thing I’d say about that; [the Colts] probably feel the same way. That’s part of football. You get your chance to execute on game day and there are some things we feel like we could have done better. I’m sure they feel there are some things they could have done better, too. You don’t get to do it that way. You get your chance to play and then you live with the results.”

The wide receivers didn’t play much into it Sunday. What happened, was it something Indy did?

“Something they did, something we didn’t do. I think we had some opportunities we missed, quite frankly. We had a seam that we missed. We had some balls we missed. I think it’s a combination of things to be able to get those guys the ball -- block it, see it, throw it catch it -- and I think we didn’t quite get it done the way we’ll need to. I was a little surprised we weren’t able to get more going, quite frankly, and I expect us to get that phase of our game going quickly.”

If the Jaguars are keeping people in to help the rookie tackles in protection as they did against the Colts, that means fewer people heading downfield for Garrard.

You’d like to maximize your options, and other matchups up front may allow for more. But on plays designed for passes when there may be only two or three players out on routes, a defense gets some coverage advantages because of numbers. But a quarterback has some advantages, too. Provided he has a pocket to work in, with less to consider he should be able to make quicker and more decisive reads and throw.

Torry Holt and Williamson didn’t play great either. They and Sims-Walker and Hughes have to do better. But so does Garrard.

I like that Del Rio was willing to say so rather than painting Garrard’s performance as better than it appeared, which is the default stance of so many coaches after mediocre or bad games from their quarterbacks.

Garrard doesn’t have to carry the Jaguars for them to win, but he’s got to be better than he was Sunday. I don’t see the harm in the coach admitting as much.