- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2007

Byron Leftwich is 24-21 as Jacksonville’s starting quarterback the past four seasons, including playoffs. He owns a 79.6 passer rating. He’s only 27.

And yet the D.C. native’s tenure with the Jaguars could end sooner rather than later even though coach Jack Del Rio has said he’s the starter this season.

“I felt when I was healthy that I would be the quarterback,” said Leftwich, who missed 15 of the past 22 games with injuries and was outplayed by perpetual replacement David Garrard in minicamp. “Instead of saying that you’re injury prone, what’s being questioned is if I can play. When I’m out there I’m going to win more games than I lose.”

If the Jaguars hadn’t lost their final three games of 2006 with Garrard at quarterback, missing the playoffs at 8-8, Leftwich probably would be No. 2. Although he was Jacksonville’s first draft pick after Del Rio took over in 2003, Leftwich simply doesn’t get along with the coach.

“I don’t call Jack and say, ‘Meet me at the bar and we’ll have a drink,’ ” Leftwich told the Florida Times-Union. “We’re not that close, but I respect him as a coach, and I’m sure he respects me.”

Perhaps. The Times-Union reported Del Rio wanted to draft Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn in the first round last month but was overruled by general manager James Harris, who chose Florida safety Reggie Nelson.

“We didn’t have a consensus to take [Quinn],” Del Rio said. “That’s why we didn’t take him. We’re going to take consensus guys. We did have some people [who wanted to take Quinn].”

Leftwich wasn’t helped at minicamp with five of his top targets — Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Marcedes Lewis, George Wrightster and Matt Walker — out with injuries.

Cover deep no more — Dallas’ Roy Williams, like fellow much-hyped safety Sean Taylor of Washington, is much more of a force against the run than the pass. As a result, new Cowboys coach Wade Phillips wants to accentuate Williams’ strengths and hide his weaknesses.

“He’s not playing deep half or deep quarter or anything like that,” Phillips told reporters. “He’s playing short zone and blitz.”

Don’t judge by appearances — That’s the message to Buffalo fans from Delisa Lynch, mother of Bills first-rounder Marshawn Lynch.

“When you see this black guy with dreadlocks and gold in his mouth, don’t put him down as some thug,” Delisa Lynch told the Buffalo News. “Get to know Marshawn and you’ll know he’s a much different character. I call him my gentle giant. When Buffalo fans bring their children out to meet him, they’re going to see how Marshawn interacts with kids. I think Buffalo will like him.”

Lynch not only is moving to Buffalo, he’s bringing his mother and 13-year-old brother with him. That’s a major improvement on predecessor Willis McGahee, who didn’t work out in Buffalo during the offseasons and suggested the Bills might be better moving to Toronto.

Lynch, who has spent his entire 21 years in California, even said he’s looking forward to learning how to drive in snow.

Playing for two — Defensive end Dan Bazuin, Chicago’s second-round draft pick out of Central Michigan, thinks every day about his brother, Darin, who committed suicide at 18 last June a week after winning a Michigan high school discus title.

“I have the opportunity to live my dreams, and my brother won’t,” Dan Bazuin told the Chicago Tribune. “Each day that gets a little easier to accept, but I still miss him.”

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