Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew will be missing his first career game this weekend against the Houston Texans due to a thumb injury. In his place will be rookie sixth-round pick, Jake Luton.
However, when and how the injury occurred has been the topic of discussion surrounding and within the Jaguars organization.
On Monday, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone was asked about the timing of the injury, when Minshew first reported it and how long it took for that report to originally occur. According to Marrone, Minshew’s thumb injury was first brought to his attention on Sunday, Oct. 25, following the team’s 39-29 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers.
While the first report wasn’t deemed too serious (many players come out of the game with some sort of injury, severe or otherwise), it wasn’t until x-rays were taken on Tuesday, Oct. 27, when the injury thumb injury was found to be swollen, and more severe than first anticipated.
According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Minshew’s injury first came about in the team’s first match up against the Houston Texans on Oct. 11, with the second-year quarterback simply playing through it, never reporting the injury to the Jaguars officials.
X-rays during this week revealed that Jaguars’ QB Gardner Minshew II has multiple fractures and a strained ligament in his right thumb, sources told ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 29, 2020
Minshew has had discomfort in his thumb since Oct. 11 at Houston. Jaguars didn’t know about Minshew’s injury until this week
Marrone acknowledged that much on Monday, and said while he understands the competitive nature of a football player, sometimes, it’s best to report the injury as to not hurt the team.
“I talked to Gardner [Minshew II] about that. I found out from the trainers and doctors about that first I guess on Tuesday night or Wednesday. I can’t recall which day. My emotion was, at first, there’s a little level of frustration and accountability when someone is injured obviously, they should report it,” said Marrone.
“You kind of go back and did you see anything that might have given you an indication. I talked to [Quarterbacks Coach] Ben McAdoo, I talked to [Offensive Coordinator] Jay [Gruden], we didn’t see anything.
“When Gardner came in, I just talked to him, I said,’ I can understand. One, if you’re injured, you need to report it.’ I said,’ Two, it’s not like I don’t understand the competitiveness in you where you want to continue to play.’ I said, ‘But, you have to make smart decisions and decisions that’s what’s best for team’ and that was it.”
Marrone mentioned later that he would not get involved from a disciplinary perspective, only to take it as a teaching moment for players: if you are injured, report it.
Since Oct. 11, the Jaguars have played two games, against the Detroit Lions and the Chargers. Minshew saw his completion percentage drop from an average of 72.77% over the first five games of the season, including the Oct. 11 game, to 56.82% and 51.85, over the last two games, respectively.
His yards declined too. After averaging 287.8 yards-per-game passing over the first five games of the season, Minshew would throw for just 243 and 173 yards over the last two games, respectively.
A decline in his play could be pointed to a variety of factors, including the match ups, however, an injury could hinder play, too, which is why teams would rather err on the side of caution rather than continuing to put players who aren’t suitable to play, in the lineup - especially in the face of a 6-game losing streak.
“Even though we appreciate the competitiveness that you all have that it’s in your best interest to make sure you report it and this way we don’t put someone out there that’s not really 100 percent.”
For now, the Jaguars will line up with Luton as the team’s starting quarterback, and Marrone didn’t appear opposed to keep him in for the long term if he succeeds, meaning Minshew could be without a starting spot upon his arrival.
“I mean 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,” said Marrone. “Opportunities create themselves and if he does well, then we’ll see where we’re going, and we’ll make that decision when the time comes.”