Gardner Minshew

QB Injury Updates: Brees, Darnold, Minshew, Lock, Dalton

There have been a lot of short-term quarterback injuries recently, and we’ve got a batch of updates to pass along. We heard earlier Monday that Drew Brees is dealing with several cracked ribs as well as a collapsed lung, and now we have a better idea how long he’ll be sidelined. 2-3 weeks is apparently the “most optimistic recovery time” for the veteran, a source told Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Graziano said there’s emphasis on the optimistic part there, indicating it could be quite a bit longer than that.

He also added “there is hope he’s back in time for playoffs,” which doesn’t paint the prettiest picture. It sounds like it’ll be Jameis Winston and/or Taysom Hill for the foreseeable future. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported earlier the Saints weren’t immediately planning on placing Brees on injured reserve, confirming there is some hope he won’t even have to miss three full games. Graziano says it’ll all come down to when they feel like he can take a hit without risk of re-injury. New Orleans will take on the Falcons this weekend, and head coach Sean Payton has already said he won’t name a starting quarterback until closer to kickoff.

Here’s more on the health status of various passers:

  • The Jets will be looking for their first win of the season with Joe Flacco yet again. Sam Darnold will not be able to return this week, they announced Monday. This will be Flacco’s fourth start of the season after Darnold briefly returned before re-injuring his shoulder and hitting the shelf again. Head coach Adam Gase said he could possibly play in Week 12, but that doesn’t sound overly likely at the moment. Darnold himself spoke to the media, and made it sound like the team is going to be very cautious and not play him until he’s 100 percent. He did say he was “very confident” he would play again this season, but we could be looking at another couple of games at least with Flacco under center.
  • Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew also won’t be ready to return this week, head coach Doug Marrone said Monday, meaning sixth-round rookie Jake Luton will get his third-straight start. It does sound like Minshew is getting closer though, as Marrone said he’ll start throwing routes again in practice this week, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Drew Lock melted down against the Raiders on Sunday with four interceptions, but he apparently wasn’t 100 percent healthy. Lock has a muscle strain around his ribs, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Head coach Vic Fangio acknowledged that his status for this weekend’s game against the Dolphins is in doubt. He also reiterated that he’s not considering benching the second-year pro assuming he’s healthy, even though he’s been struggling mightily recently. If he isn’t able to suit up Brett Rypien is currently the number two, although the team also has veteran Blake Bortles on the practice squad.
  • In better news, it looks like the Cowboys won’t have quite as chaotic a situation any more under center. Coach Mike McCarthy announced Monday that Andy Dalton had been cleared to fully return to practice, and he should start this Sunday against the Vikings. Dalton has missed the past two games after suffering a concussion and then testing positive for COVID-19. Seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci and former undrafted AAF star Garrett Gilbert started in his place.

Injury Updates: McCaffrey, Minshew, Biadasz

Christian McCaffrey finally made his highly anticipated return from his ankle injury yesterday against the Chiefs, but unfortunately the Panthers superstar picked up another minor ailment toward the end of the game. McCaffrey hurt his shoulder on the final drive of the game, and head coach Matt Rhule is labeling him day to day moving forward. But McCaffrey is apparently in a great deal of pain and his status for this Sunday’s game against the Bucs is “very much in doubt,” reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter video link). It doesn’t sound like anything long-term, but this could once again become Mike Davis‘ backfield, at least for this weekend.

Here are more health updates from around the league:

  • The Jaguars nearly picked up an upset win over the Texans in Jake Luton‘s NFL debut, and he’ll get another crack at it in Week 10. Head coach Doug Marrone told the media that Gardner Minshew is unlikely to be available this weekend due to his thumb injury, and that Luton will likely start once again. Luton had a pretty impressive debut for a sixth-round rookie, passing for 304 yards and a touchdown with an interception while coming very close to leading a comeback. It’s no guarantee Minshew gets his job back even when he’s healthy.
  • Speaking of the Jaguars, they at least did get some good news back on rookie receiver Laviska Shenault. Shenault left yesterday’s game with a hamstring injury and was ruled out, but Rapoport tweets that he received good news from his MRI, and a source told him Shenault has a good chance to play this week against the Packers. The 42nd overall pick of April’s draft has been a consistent contributor, with at least three catches in every game that he’s finished.
  • The Cowboys on the other hand weren’t quite as fortunate. Rookie center Tyler Biadasz hurt his hamstring during pregame warmups, and EVP Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan this morning that he’ll be out 2-3 weeks with the injury. It’s another brutal blow to a Dallas offensive line that has been decimated by injuries. The fourth-round pick from Wisconsin had been the Cowboys’ center for the past 5.5 games. Joe Looney started the first few games, and he’ll now get his starting job back for the time being.
  • Colts tight end Jack Doyle is in the concussion protocol and likely won’t be able to be cleared in time for Indy’s Thursday Night Football AFC South showdown with the Titans, head coach Frank Reich announced Monday. Doyle had touchdowns in back to back weeks before going down on Sunday, and his absence will limit Indy’s ability to run the multi-tight end sets they like so much with Mo Alie-Cox and Trey Burton.

Jaguars To Start QB Jake Luton This Weekend

Jake Luton will likely be under center for the Jaguars this weekend. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the rookie quarterback is expected to start against the Texans on Sunday. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero adds (on Twitter) that Luton will get starter reps at practice this week.

We learned last week that Jaguars starting quarterback Gardner Minshew had been diagnosed with multiple fractures in his right thumb (in addition to a strained ligament). Minshew reportedly suffered the injury in early October and had played through the pain, and staffers only learned of the injury last week. Following the revelation, the team decided to sideline their starter.

The decision to start Luton comes as a bit of a surprise. The team is also rostering veteran Mike Glennon, who has bounced between the practice squad and active roster this season. The 30-year-old has 22 career starts under his belt, although he’s only attempted a combined 31 passes over the past two-plus seasons.

So, the team will instead turn to Luton, a sixth-round rookie out of Oregon State. Luton had a breakout season for the Beavers in 2019, completing 62-percent of his passes for 2,714 yards, 28 touchdowns, and three interceptions. We heard last week that the Jaguars coaching staff was impressed with the rookie, and considering the team is currently 1-6, it makes a bit of sense to see what they’ve got in the 24-year-old.

Jaguars’ Gardner Minshew To Miss Time?

Nov. 1: Minshew is expected to be inactive for next week’s game against Houston, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Glennon and sixth-round rookie Jake Luton will battle for the starting job in practice, and while Glennon obviously offers far more experience than Luton, coaches have been impressed with the young Oregon State signal-caller. With Jacksonville sitting at 1-6, it would not be surprising to see Luton get the nod.

Oct. 29: Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew has been diagnosed with multiple fractures in his right thumb, plus a strained ligament (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). With that, his availability is in question for the Jags’ next game against the Texans after the bye week. 

Minshew has been in pain since Oct. 11, when he suffered the injury in the team’s last meeting with the Texans. Jaguars staffers only just found out about Minshew’s injury this week, which means they may prompt them to start backup Mike Glennon in Week 9.

The injury would help to explain his recent performance. Against the Chargers, Minshew completed just over half of his passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. He was also sacked multiple times early on, which didn’t help matters either.

Last year, Minshew went 6-6 as the Jaguars’ starter while setting franchise records in yards (3,271) and touchdowns (21) for rookie QBs. This year, he’s gone 1-6 with 1,855 yards and 13 touchdowns against five interceptions.

In other Jaguars injury news, return specialist Dede Westbrook has been ruled out for the rest of the year with a torn ACL. Fortunately, Minshew’s injury is far less severe.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jags Could Bench QB Gardner Minshew

Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew has generally been a fun player to follow since he entered the league as an unheralded sixth-round pick in last year’s draft. He was surprisingly thrust into action in Week 1 of the 2019 season, and in 14 games, he threw for 21 TDs against just six interceptions and a 91.2 passer rating. Though there were some concerns, including 13 fumbles, he acquitted himself about as well as a sixth-round rookie could.

And when Jacksonville traded Nick Foles this offseason, it paved the way for Minshew to become the unquestioned starter in 2020. But after he led his team to a Week 1 win over the Colts, Minshew’s play has fallen off. His raw statistics look decent enough — he’s completed 67.5% of his passes for 11 TDs and five interceptions, good for a 94.1 QB rating — but much of his production has come with the Jaguars trailing.

Fumbling continues to be an issue, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggests that Jacksonville could bench Minshew, perhaps as soon as this afternoon’s game against the Chargers. Current backup signal-caller Mike Glennon would get the nod if that happens.

Since the 1-5 Jags are clearly not going to contend for a playoff spot — and since the soon-to-be 31-year-old Glennon is hardly the long-term answer — it would make sense for them to at least see more of Minshew before reevaluating their QB situation this offseason. But perhaps the club believes it has a good idea of what Minshew can do at this point and wants to see what it has in rookie Jake Luton, whom the team selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft.

Indeed, Rapoport says that if Jacksonville turns to Glennon today, it will then use its bye next week to determine how it wants to move forward. That would seem to be the ideal time to give Luton, a strong-armed passer from Oregon State, his shot to be this year’s Minshew.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Peter King’s Latest On 2020 NFL Draft

While Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah is widely viewed as the top defensive back in the 2020 draft class, at least one general manager thinks a portion of NFL decision-makers may have a different view. “I bet 40% of the teams in the league have C.J. Henderson higher on their boards than Okudah,” the anonymous GM told Peter King of NBC Sports. “Better cover guy.” Henderson, a Florida product with 30 total games and a 2019 All-SEC nod under his belt, is pegged as a first-round pick, but it would certainly be a surprise if he came off the board before Okudah, who is thought to be a potential top-five selection.

Let’s take a look at a few more draft tidbits from King’s latest column:

  • The Chargers‘ quarterback situation continues to a conundrum. While a source close to Los Angeles GM Tom Telesco tells King Telesco is high on Oregon signal-caller Justin Herbert, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has faith in incumbent Tyrod Taylor. In fact, Lynn might be comfortable starting Taylor even beyond the 2020 season.
  • While the Chargers may target a quarterback in the first round, don’t expect the Jaguars to go after a passer with the ninth overall pick, per King. Jacksonville intends to give 2019 sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew a legitimate shot at becoming a full-time NFL starter after trading veteran Nick Foles to the Bears earlier this month.
  • Although the 49ers are already loaded along their defensive line (even after trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts), they could still target even more front four help in the first round. Specifically, San Francisco could be eyeing a defensive tackle such as South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw. The 49ers own both the 13th and 31st picks on Day 1 of the draft, leaving them ample opportunities to address nee areas.
  • The Cowboys may look to find a replacement for All-Pro center Travis Frederick after he announced his retirement earlier this year, but at least one rival executive tells King that Dallas won’t spend the 17th pick on a pivot. However, that same executive believes the Cowboys are fans of Michigan interior lineman Cesar Ruiz, and could trade down before selecting the ex-Wolverine.
  • One NFL GM tells King the Patriots “love” Herbert, but may not be infatuated enough to trade up from pick No. 23. Indeed, New England would likely need to sacrifice a 2021 first-round pick in order to move into Herbert range.

Jaguars Want To Trade QB Nick Foles

If the Jaguars have their way, it’ll be Minshew Mania again in 2020. ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler report that the Jaguars “want to go with Gardner Minshew as their starting QB” next season. As a result, the organization would like to find a taker for Nick Foles.

However, as the two reporters point out, it might not be easy to trade the veteran quarterback, and the Jaguars will have to “sweeten the deal, either with a pick or by paying part of the salary.” Last offseason, Jacksonville signed the former Super Bowl MVP to a whopping four-year deal worth $50.1MM guaranteed. The veteran will count for more than $22MM against the cap next season, although teams could have an out (with a $12.5MM cap hit) following the 2020 campaign.

It’s not too surprising that the Jaguars are opting for the younger option. While Foles didn’t play horribly in his four starts, the team still went 0-4 with him under center. The Jaguars improved to 6-6 with Minshew at quarterback, and the rookie finished the season with a top-10 interception rate.

Foles could theoretically be a fallback option for a squad that misses out on their free agent or trade targets. However, considering the 2020 salary and modest future investment, rival teams may choose to use their money elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Notes: Rivers, Tannehill, Jags, Winston

Philip Rivers‘ disappointing season has led to speculation the Chargers will seek an upgrade in free agency or the draft. But GM Tom Telesco said (via Daniel Popper of The Athletic, on Twitter) this week he still believes the 38-year-old quarterback can compete at a “top-starter level.” Rivers has bounced back from down seasons before, even winning 2013’s comeback player of the year award after merely coming back from a rough 2012 slate. But the free agent-to-be is much closer to the end of his career and has acknowledged Week 17 may have been his final Bolts game. The Chargers aim to get the Rivers situation sorted out before the 2020 league year begins March 18, Telesco adds (Twitter link). Tyrod Taylor is still under contract, and while Telesco called the ex-Bills starter a capable first-stringer (Twitter link via ESPN’s Eric Williams), promoting the 30-year-old veteran would not be viewed as an upgrade.

Here is the latest from the quarterback landscape:

  • A franchise tag may be in the cards for Ryan Tannehill, but the Titans are convinced his change-of-scenery breakout is legit. The Titans believe the 31-year-old passer is a “huge part of their future” and want to sign him to a long-term extension, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). The prospect of a Tannehill re-up initially surfaced in late November, and the sides have begun negotiations. It would cost Tennessee approximately $27MM to use its franchise tag on Tannehill. With Derrick Henry and right tackle Jack Conklin also up for free agency, it would behoove the Titans to have Tannehill locked down before the March 10 deadline. Of course, Tannehill’s Dolphins history makes such a commitment risky.
  • The Jaguars will not commit to Gardner Minshew as their clear-cut starter going into the offseason. Doug Marrone said Minshew and Nick Foles will compete for the job, per John Reid of the Florida Times-Union. The Jags gave Foles $50MM guaranteed in 2018; his 2020 salary is fully guaranteed.
  • Jameis Winston may have been playing through a more significant thumb injury than initially believed. The Buccaneers quarterback is now wearing a cast, per Rapoport (on Twitter). Winston threw his usual variety of interceptions before the thumb injury surfaced but tossed four in Week 16 against the Texans after being on the Bucs’ injury report with the malady. The soon-to-be 26-year-old passer will be a free agent in March.

Jaguars To Stick With Gardner Minshew

Gardner Minshew initially landed the Jaguars’ starting quarterback job because of injury. He will now take over for a healthy Nick Foles.

The Jags announced Monday afternoon their sixth-round rookie passer has supplanted Foles. Despite the latter’s $22MM-AAV contract, Minshew relieved him during Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers. That setup will stick, which calls questions into Foles’ future.

Foles’ return from a broken collarbone injury brought two blowout losses — to the Colts and Jaguars — and the Bucs were delivering more of the same. However, Minshew oversaw a one-sided Jags defeat against the Texans and could not bring them back against the Bucs. He will have a chance to make his ninth start Sunday against the Chargers. The Washington State product went 4-4 while filling in for Foles.

Jacksonville gave Foles a four-year, $88MM deal — with $50MM guaranteed — despite seemingly no other serious suitors. The team had to make cap-related cuts because of its misstep with Blake Bortles, a move that forced them to carry $16.5MM in dead money this year. It might be too late for Doug Marrone to save his job, but the switch back to Foles certainly generates questions about the 30-year-old former Super Bowl MVP’s future in north Florida.

Foles has completed 65% of his passes this season. While Minshew sits at 61, the more elusive passer is averaging an additional yard per attempt — 7.3 to 6.3 — and has shown a better rapport with emerging wideout D.J. Chark. After throwing a touchdown pass Sunday, Minshew is up to 14 for the season compared to just five interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Marrone, Dolphins, Lawson

After the Jaguars ugly 42-20 loss to the Titans, the team fell to 4-7 and reporters asked head coach Doug Marrone if the team would be making any changes at quarterback or defensive coordinator. Marrone remained steadfast that he is not considering changes at either spot, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.

Marrone, currently in his third season as Jacksonville’s official head coach (he served as the interim at the end of 2016), is still looking to replicate the success he found in his first year at the helm. That season the Jaguars had one of the best defensive units in football that carried a team with questionable quarterback play to the AFC Championship Game. Since, the team is 9-18 and recently looks in disarray defensively. On the opposite side of the field, rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew showed promise while Nick Foles was out with a broken collarbone. Foles returned last week, but has yet to lead a strong offensive performance.

Here’s some more Sunday notes from the AFC:

  • Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is perfect for the Dolphins situation, according to Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald. Fitzpatrick has helped their offensive unit maintain an acceptable level of competence, but not to a level that could cause the team to win enough games to have their first round pick fall outside the top five in next year’s draft. Salguero also notes that head coach Brian Flores’ choices have made clear that Miami believes that Josh Rosen is not the franchise’s answer under center.
  • The Bills defense dominated the Broncos offense in Sunday’s 20-3 victory. It’s no secret that Buffalo has one of the best defensive units in football, but one player seemed to be playing with a little chip on his shoulder. According to Denver7’s Troy Renck, Bills edge rusher Shaq Lawson, who recorded two sacks on Sunday, looked for Broncos center Connor McGovern after the contest to tell him, “You will remember me now.” Apparently, McGovern said he did not who Lawson was prior to the game and the Clemson alum took note.