Minshew Mania Returns as Jaguars Name Rookie Starting QB

Gardner Minshew Week 14 Starter

Getty Gardner Minshew #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up before the start of a game against the New York Jets at TIAA Bank Field on October 27, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Minshew Mania is back and might just be here to stay in Jacksonville this time.

The Jaguars replaced starting quarterback Nick Foles with rookie Gardner Minshew during Sunday’s home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while head coach Doug Marrone confirmed Monday afternoon he would be the team’s starter moving forward. Minshew took over under center after Foles was injured in the season opener and delivered several strong performances despite the Jags winning just four games.

Minshew was benched Week 11 when a healthy Foles returned to the lineup, but the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback struggled in consecutive losses to divisional opponents. Things only got worse Sunday against the Bucs as Foles turned the ball over on each of their first three drives, twice on fumbles.

“I wanted to get a spark,” Marrone said Sunday via ESPN. “It was kind of dead, and I wanted to get things going and made the switch at quarterback.”

Minshew wasn’t able to help the Jaguars (4-8) avoid their 28-11 loss, but the rookie flashed some of the promise he showed earlier in the year on a late touchdown drive, throwing for both the score and the two-point conversion. He did, however, throw a pick on the next drive.

Nonetheless, the sixth-round rookie will get the starting nod moving into Week 14’s home game against the Los Angeles Chargers while Foles — who signed a four-year contract with $50 million guaranteed this past offseason — moves back to the bench.

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Jaguars Fans Not Hiding Their QB Preference

The cheers that greeted Minshew and his signature mustache at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday said it all about how Jaguars fans feel about their young quarterback getting the ball. They were chanting his name after the first two drives — and booing Foles off the field.

“It’s tough,” Minshew said. “I’ve been in the same situation. I’ve been booed off the field at (East Carolina), and it’s not a place anybody should have to be in. There’s so much love in that room. We all support each other.”

 

Foles was a big-time acquisition during the offseason with a price tag of $88 million on his deal, but his long injury allowed time for Minshew to become a fan favorite. The raw rookie has at times played magician when evading incoming pass-rushers and made a number of throws far beyond his evaluation as a sixth-round talent.

“It’s not easy,” Foles said of his benching. “This is not an easy game. Tough situation, but I’m going to continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. Like I said before, it’s a trail, and the trails keep coming. Not easy, but I know where my heart is and where my faith is and what I’m going to lean on in this time like I always do in the good and the bad.”

Minshew is stepping into an ideal situation in Week 14 with the Jaguars virtually out of playoff contention and unable to achieve a winning season with four games left to play. He’ll want to win, surely, but the coaching staff also essentially gets four games to start developing a new game plan around Minshew’s abilities that can serve as a foundation for next season.

In 10 games this season, Minshew has completed 204 of 334 passes for 2,432 yards with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. He is also averaging 5.5 rushing yards on 44 attempts.

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