The Jacksonville Jaguars will be slotting second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew III back into the role of starting signal caller for their Week 15 tilt with the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15.
Minshew had been out of the lineup following a 39-29 loss in Week 7, which was their sixth straight loss under the Washington State’s product’s leadership. The main reason for his absence from the team has been a thumb injury that had been bothering him since at least Week 5, though his play leading up to his injury absence certainly wasn’t all that impressive.
Mike Glennon, who had been the starter for the past few weeks, was able to get just 99 yards and five first downs out of the offense through the first two-plus quarters of a 31-3 game, so when he tossed up a deep ball that got picked by the Titans, head coach Doug Marrone decided he’d seen enough, putting his man, Minshew, back at the helm.
In limited action (and with extremely soft coverage from a team up 28 points), Minshew was able to put together a respectable performance, tossing the rock for 178 yards and a touchdown to finish the game. Afterwards, Marrone was clear that his team—which, again, has lost 12 straight—needed some sort of spark to get off the schneid, and Minshew Mania could be just that.
“If someone gets in there and is playing well, hey, that’s great, right? That means things are going well and we’ve got a chance to win a football game,” Marrone said. “Hey, am I looking to make a quick hook? Obviously not. I want someone to go in there and give us a chance to win and get the guys around them to play better. That was my main focus when I spoke to those quarterbacks today.”
Minshew was first replaced by rookie Jake Luton, who lost all three of his starts while putting up two touchdowns against six interceptions. The Jags then turned to veteran Mike Glennon to run the offense. Glennon, who is playing for his fifth NFL franchise, looked pretty good in his first start for Jacksonville, a tight 27-25 loss to the Cleveland Browns during which he put up 235 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite taking the Minnesota Vikings to overtime the next week (a game which they inevitably lost as well), however, Glennon looked less sharp in that second start, and after that Malcolm Butler pick to start the third quarter down 31-3, the 31-year-old had pushed Marrone’s patience past the brink.
Minshew, a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, had been good enough last season for the Jaguars to let veteran (and former Super Bowl MVP) Nick Foles leave this past offseason, and the gamble seemed as though it was paying off when the 24-year-old led his squad to a huge 27-20 upset win over the revamped Indianapolis Colts in Week 1.
12 weeks later, and that’s still Jacksonville’s only win. Meanwhile, the Colts (+127 odds to win AFC South on 888sport) are 9-4 and in a very winnable fight against the 9-4 Tennessee Titans (-155) for the AFC South crown. Tennessee’s -155 odds represent the lowest for any division leader in the NFL with just three games to go, so taking a closer look at that race could prove profitable.
The Jaguars will try to regain some semblance of rhythm and self-respect with Minshew back at the head of the ship, but with visits to Baltimore and Indianapolis sandwiching a home date with the Bears over Jacksonville’s final three games, they could very well finish this season as just the 11th one-win team in league history.
Hey, at least they can take solace in knowing their dreadful performance this season has been vastly overshadowed by a New York Jets team that has yet to win a game, and likely won’t for the remainder of the season, currently sporting -250 odds to go 0-16 on 888sport.