The Jacksonville Jaguars began the day with the expectation of veteran quarterback Mike Glennon starting and playing through the entire game against the Tennessee Titans. That, however, wouldn’t be the case, ultimately.
During the 31-10 loss, Glennon would be benched, proving he may not have been the team’s best option to win this week after all.
In his place came in second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who entered the game with it already out of hand, 31-3 as Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans steamrolled the Jaguars’ defense. Minshew hadn’t suited up for the team since Week 7 of the regular season against the Los Angeles Chargers, a game the team lost 39-29, just before the team’s bye week.
Minshew was unable to play coming out of the team’s bye week due to a thumb injury the quarterback reportedly didn’t disclose for several weeks before finally getting evaluated and subsequently ruled out for the next several weeks.
Today, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said that the decision to go back to Minshew came as a result of Glennon’s interception thrown in the third quarter of the game with the hope that bringing in Minshew could revive a walking-dead offense after one drive into the second half. He wanted to give the team a “spark,” while down double-digits.
Marrone didn’t indicate, however, whether or not Minshew would retain the starting role next week, noting he had yet to speak to either quarterback.
“Obviously, I have in my mind what I want to do, but I’m actually gonna make sure I speak to them first before I do something,” said Marrone following the game on Sunday.
Minshew would quickly come in and complete five out of seven of his passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. For reference, Mike Glennon finished the game completing 13 out of 23 passes for 85 yards and an interception through the first drive of the second half.
Finishing the game completing 18 of 31 for 178 yards and a touchdown on the day, Minshew says it felt good to be back out with his teammates.
“It’s something that I really missed,” said Minshew in postgame. “I missed the camaraderie with the guys. I missed being out there. As much as you’re always a part of the team it’s just something different when you really are out there with the guys. It’s always special.”
While he wanted to be out there, saying via ESPN last week that he “begged” to play against the Cleveland Browns, Minshew says he was able to sit back and learn over the past few weeks.
“It was a lot like last year where you’re able to really go back and self scout,” said Mins “Picked up on a few things. I remember last year it was all about coming back with better ball security in the pocket and I feel I accomplished that. I had some things this year that I wanted to work on.”
The Jaguars’ offense was lacking both on the ground and through the air, however one bright spot would be rookie running back James Robinson who would finish with 12 carries for 67 yards, reaching over 1,000 yards on the year, and becoming the fourth undrafted free agent running back to rush for 1,000+ yards in his rookie season in NFL history.
Robinson also surpassed former Indianapolis Colts running back Dominic Rhodes for the most scrimmage yards by an undrafted rookie since 1967 with 1,357 yards. Rhodes finished his rookie season with 1,328 yards.
The heart of the team’s offense throughout the year, Marrone said following the game that it’s a credit to Robinson, “he’s been outstanding, he really has.” Noting that the running back had been banged up entering the week, and it didn’t appear to slow him down.
While he typically wouldn’t Marrone says he congratulated Robinson in the locker room for his individual performance this season, understanding that some may mock him for doing so, especially considering the way the season has gone for Jacksonville.
Robinson himself says he was “grateful” that Marrone spoke about his achievement this season, also noting that his teammates also congratulated him shortly prior to the game ending.
Robinson has carried the football 224 times for 1,035 yards on the year, while adding 46 receptions for 326 receiving yards. He’s been one of the team’s best rookies in franchise history.