Gardner Minshew

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.

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Jaguars Bench Nick Foles

After an ugly first half against the Buccaneers this afternoon, the Jaguars benched their high priced quarterback Nick Foles for rookie Gardner Minshew while trailing 25-0. After one half of football, Foles had only completed 7 of 14 passes for 93 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception, while taking three sacks and losing two fumbles. After coming into the game, Minshew was not great either, but he certainly had better numbers and generally played better than Foles, completing 15 of 26 passes for 141 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in a game that the Jaguars ultimately lost 28-11. After Foles’ third turnover, the restless crowd starting chanting “we want Minshew”.

After the game, when asked who would be the starting quarterback when the 4-8 Jaguars take on the Chargers next week in Jacksonville, Doug Marrone said he will not make that announcement until he speaks to both Foles and Minshew. Last week, after an ugly 42-20 loss to the division rival Tennessee Titans, Marrone said he was not considering any sort of quarterback change, insisting that Foles gave the Jaguars their “best chance to win”. After another loss, it is clear that Marrone’s hand may be forced with giving Minshew the start next week in a last ditch effort to spark the offense. 

Minshew, the fan favorite who was not expected to play at all this season, came in for the former Super Bowl MVP after Foles broke his left clavicle bone week one against the Chiefs and played fairly well in his absence, throwing for 2,285 yards with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions in nine games leading up to today. Along with his success throwing the football, unlike the slow-footed Nick Foles, he has also proven to be a rather mobile quarterback, rushing the ball 42 times for 235 yards.

Foles, on the other hand, signed a four-year, $88MM deal with Jacksonville back in March, with $50.125MM in guaranteed money. Even if Marrone and the Jaguars decide to start Minshew for the rest of the season, it is unlikely they would cut Foles during the offseason, as the cost to cut Foles next year on the cap is $33.875MM. If he is on the Jaguars roster on the fifth day of the league year next year, then $5MM of his 2021 salary will also become guaranteed.

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.

Jaguars To Start Nick Foles

Nick Foles is the Jaguars’ new starting quarterback, head coach Doug Marrone announced. Foles is ready to rock after recovering from a broken collarbone and Minshew’s rough outing against the Texans in London cost him the No. 1 gig.

It’s not one game,” Marrone said of the QB situation on Sunday, after the Jags took the L in London. “It’ll be a body of work.

Foles’ body of work, which includes a Super Bowl ring, trumped Minshew’s largely impressive, but occasionally rocky, rookie season. There’s still hope for Minshew, but the Jaguars gave Foles a hefty contract this offseason for a reason. The veteran probably gives the Jaguars their best shot to win right now and turn their 4-5 season around.

Foles’ longstanding relationship with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo probably played a role in the decision as well. DeFilippo saw the Super Bowl LII MVP at his very best and believes that he can eek out an encore in 2019.

Thanks to the four-year, $88MM deal he signed with Jacksonville in the offseason, Foles is under contract through the 2022 season.

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Marrone Tightlipped On Jags’ QB Situation

The Jaguars suffered an ugly 26-3 loss to the Texans during the London game Sunday, but head coach Doug Marrone didn’t tip his hand when speaking to reporters after the game. It was widely believed that rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew could hang onto the starting job with a strong performance against Houston, but obviously that didn’t materialize.

Marrone certainly didn’t hint that he was going to go back to Nick Foles, which suggests he’s at least strongly considering sticking with Minshew even after the rough outing. Interestingly, Marrone said “it’s not one game, it’ll be a body of work” that he looks at when making the decision, according to Grant Gordon of NFL.com, which would seem to indicate Minshew’s poor game won’t necessarily be the nail in his coffin. Marrone also added that he’ll likely make the decision sometime right before the team gets back together from their bye week, around next Sunday.

Minshew brought an initial jolt of excitement to the franchise, but he has been inconsistent recently. The Jaguars gave Foles a rich contract this offseason, and he hasn’t even played a full game for them yet. The Jags are now 4-5 after the loss, although they’re still very much alive in a muddled AFC wild card race. Against the Texans, Minshew finished with 309 yards, but it took him 47 attempts and he also threw two interceptions.

It sounds like we won’t know for about another week if Minshew Mania is indeed coming to an end. Foles has the contract working in his favor, as well as his longstanding relationship with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who helped coax a Super Bowl run out of him two seasons ago. The decision could ultimately come down to input from leaders in the locker room, like defensive lineman Calais Campbell. Whoever Marrone decides to go with, they’ll probably be on a pretty short leash and at risk of getting yanked for the other at any time.

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Latest On Gardner Minshew, Nick Foles

Jaguars high-priced QB Nick Foles is expected to be healthy enough to return to the field in Week 11, as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reiterates (video link). However, Rapoport indicated that if Foles’ replacement, sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew, played well against the Texans in London today, Jacksonville could continue to roll with Minshew and have Foles serve as his backup.

But there’s a problem: Minshew did not play well in the Jags’ loss to Houston. He completed 27 of 47 passes for 309 yards and accounted for four turnovers (two lost fumbles and two interceptions). As such, and as Rapoport indicated in a follow-up tweet, the Jags will have a tough decision to make in the next week or so (the team has its bye next week).

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports also heard that Minshew had a chance to keep his starting job, but now his immediate future is looking much more uncertain. The Jaguars are on the fringe of the playoff picture, and while it is difficult to envision them as legitimate contenders in 2019, it would also be tough for them to keep the experienced (and well-paid) Foles on the sidelines while there is still a chance at the postseason.

Minshew has injected some life into the Jags’ franchise, but he looked very much like a rookie today, and he has struggled with fumbles all season. He obviously has plenty of promise, but he still has a lot to learn, and he may have to do some of that learning as a backup.

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Latest On Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey

Jaguars star Jalen Ramsey will not practice on Wednesday, per the club’s daily blast. Ramsey is listed as unable to participate with a back injury, though many have been suspicious about his continued absence. 

Ramsey wants out of Jacksonville, and the Jaguars seem poised to trade him, but the club’s asking price seems to be a barrier to a deal. At the outset, they started the bidding at two first-round picks. Recently, a contending team offered two first-round choices, but the Jaguars turned down the deal with the belief that those picks would likely fall at the end of the draft.

Nearly every team in the league seems to be interested in Ramsey, but Peter King of NBC Sports recently speculated that the Chiefs and Ravens rank high on that list. He also believes the Chargers could join the fray.

For any club, Ramsey would mark a massive upgrade for today and become a huge cornerstone for seasons to come. The appeal is obvious – he’s one of the very best corners in the game and won’t turn 25 until later this month. On the flipside, acquiring Ramsey would mean giving the young star a top-of-the-market deal that is commensurate with his ability, so the notion of sacrificing two first-round picks for him is unpalatable to most franchises.

In related news, quarterback Gardner Minshew was added to the injury report with a knee ailment, but that issue is believed to be minor. Right now, it sounds like he’ll be available to face the Panthers this weekend.

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Jaguars To Place Nick Foles On IR

The Jaguars will not have their well-paid free agent quarterback for at least two months. Doug Marrone confirmed Nick Foles underwent surgery Monday. He will head to IR.

While no definitive timeline exists for the first-year Jaguar, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) this is not expected to be a season-ending injury. The Jags hope Foles will return later in 2019. Foles suffered a broken left clavicle against the Chiefs, sending sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew into action in what became a two-score loss.

Foles has experience with this type of malady. He suffered a clavicle break in 2014, leaving an Eagles-Texans game that season on Nov. 2. He did not return that year (and did not return as an Eagle until 2017). Per IR rules, Foles cannot come back to game action until at least Week 11. The 30-year-old passer must miss eight weeks, but since the Jags have a Week 10 bye, their Nov. 17 date with the Colts in Indianapolis would be the earliest target date for their starting quarterback.

Jacksonville traded a 2020 fifth-round pick for Pittsburgh backup Josh Dobbs on Monday. Dobbs is expected to play behind Minshew, at least for the time being, per NFL.com’s James Palmer (Twitter link). Minshew completed 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns.

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