Garrard will have surgery on the middle finger of his right hand Thursday. Trent Edwards is likely to start in Garrard’s place, essentially giving the former Buffalo Bills starter an audition with Jacksonville.
Garrard injured his finger when he hit it on an opposing player’s helmet at Indianapolis on Dec. 19. He threw a crucial interception late in the that game, and threw two more picks in a 20-17 overtime loss to Washington on Sunday. He also fumbled twice.
Making that even more improbable, the Jaguars likely will be without star running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He missed his fourth consecutive practice Wednesday because of an injured right knee that probably will need offseason surgery.
Garrard set the franchise record for touchdown passes in a season, enjoyed five of the best eight games of his nine-year career and led the team to several late wins. But his final two games, which included two costly turnovers late, had fans calling for a quarterback change.
Garrard’s injury probably might not do much to dampen those feelings. After all, he’s just 39-37 as a starter and has one playoff victory.
This season was one of his best, though. He completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,734 yards, with 23 TD passes and 15 interceptions and a passer rating of 90.8.
He led the team to late wins against Indianapolis, Buffalo, Houston and Cleveland. But he showed more inconsistency in losses to San Diego, Philadelphia, Tennessee, the New York Giants and Washington.
The Jaguars claimed Edwards off waivers in late September, picking him off after he was benched and later released by the Bills. Edwards has played in one game with Jacksonville, completing 14 of 24 passes for 140 yards and two interceptions.
Edwards replaced Garrard when he left a Monday night game against the Titans in mid-October with a concussion. Garrard missed the following week’s game at Kansas City, but Edwards was unavailable because of a thumb injury, so journeyman Todd Bouman got the start.
Bouman likely will serve as the backup this week against the Texans.