JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars are moving from one sixth-round draft pick to another at quarterback.
Coach Doug Marrone said Monday that Gardner Minshew will miss Sunday’s game against Houston (1-6) with a thumb injury on his throwing hand. Rookie Jake Luton will make his NFL debut.
“I think Jake has a high ceiling,” Marrone said. “I just want to see where this kid’s at. … Might as well look. We might as well see what we have, right? Go ahead and play him and let’s go.”
The Jaguars (1-6) have lost six consecutive games, including three straight by double digits.
Minshew was a sixth-rounder in 2019 out of Washington State, the 10th quarterback chosen and the 178th overall selection. Luton, who began his career at Idaho before transferring to Oregon State, was the 189th choice and the ninth QB drafted in April.
Minshew has a strained ligament and multiple fractures in his thumb. He played Jacksonville’s past two games in pain and finally said something following the team’s sixth consecutive loss, a 39-29 setback at the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 25.
Minshew wasn’t sharp in either of his past two outings for the Jaguars (1-6). He had a season-low passer rating (70.5) against Detroit on Oct. 18 and misfired early and often against the Chargers. He completed 14 of 27 passes for 173 yards and two TDs and was sacked five times in Los Angeles.
Marrone has no timetable for Minshew’s return and declined to commit to the second-year pro when he’s healthy enough to return.
“You’d like to as a coach be able to say, ‘Yeah, as soon as Gardner’s ready, he’ll be able to come back,’” Marrone said. “But I think when you’re at the record we are, where we are now, we’re at 1-6, we’ve got to see what this kid can do. If this kid comes in and plays extremely well, then what?
“Then you’re going to say, ‘How come you’re going to bench him and play the other kid?’ I just think it’s common sense. Opportunities create themselves. If he does well, then we’ll see where we’re going and make that decision when the time comes.”
Although veteran Mike Glennon served as Minshew’s backup through the first seven games of the season, Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell made it clear that Luton won the No. 2 job in training camp.
The 6-foot-6 Luton was a three-year starter at Oregon State (2017-19) after beginning his college career at Idaho (2014-15) and then spending a year at Ventura Community College (2016). He showed an NFL arm in camp, but his lack of mobility and experience were concerns, so the Jags kept Glennon in the backup role.
Minshew opened the season strong, but has since regressed. He is 7-12 since replacing the injured Nick Foles in the 2019 opener. He’s looked sharp in some games and somewhat lost in others, often making plays when games are out of reach.
He’s completed 63% of his passes for 5,126 yards, with 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. One of Jacksonville’s concerns: Minshew holds the ball too long; he’s been sacked 55 times in 21 games.
“My conversation with Gardner was, ‘Hey, listen, I want to make sure that you’re 100%, and when you’re 100%, I want to see you out on that field and I want to make sure I’m seeing the throws and things that you made during when we were in training camp and in the beginning of the year,’” Marrone said.
“Don’t try to come out there and say you feel good and you go out there and you’re not throwing the ball well.”
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