It’s been six weeks since Gardner Minshew suited up to play as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting quarterback, and now he’s stuck begging to earn his reps back, fully recovered from a previously undisclosed thumb injury that had sidelined him for four games prior to Sunday’s contest against the Cleveland Browns last week.
Minshew started the team’s first seven games of this season, while starting 12 games in 2019 coming in after former Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles broke his collarbone just 11 snaps into the season.
Now, Minshew is dealing with a setback of his own, unable to take reps back from Mike Glennon, the team’s starting quarterback for the past two weeks and the quarterback who will be starting on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at home.
“It’s so frustrating,” Minshew said via ESPN’s Michael DiRocco. “I pretty much went and begged before the Cleveland game to be able to play. It sucks, you know, There’s no way around it. I want to be out there. I want to be helping our team, but if helping our team is me being the best No. 2 I can be then that’s what I’ve got to do right now.”
In 19 starts for the team, Minshew has accomplished just seven wins, including one this season as the team faces the longest losing streak in franchise history at 11. In 21 games, 19 starts, Minshew has completed 461 out of 737 (62.6%) of his passes for 5,126 yards, 34 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
While it may have been Minshew’s job to lose to begin the season, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone doesn’t appear to view it that simply anymore.
“There’s a lot of players that will say, ‘Hey, I want to play,’ whether it’s practice squad, whether it’s a backup role that wants to play more. [Jaguars rookie Safety] Daniel Thomas, prior to him being hurt and starting to play, every week he was [saying], ‘Coach, I’m ready. You have to get me in.’ You want that as a coach,” Marrone said of Minshew’s comments this morning.
“You want that competitiveness. It’s the same thing I would tell Daniel, ‘Hey, you have to go out there and practice and practice well, not make any mistakes, know we can trust you and put you on out there, perform well in practice, and you’ll start getting snaps,’ and that’s exactly what happened to a point where he started to play and go.”
For now, Marrone has yet to see the right workload and readiness from Minshew in practice, and there could be a chance he may never see it, depending on if Glennon continues to out-preform the second-year player in practice, and in games over the last few weeks of the season.
“Practice is a big thing for me, when people are practicing and how they’re doing in practice. You don’t want to go into a game hoping someone’s going to be able to do well. I think your evaluations are day-to-day during the week and then obviously on game day for the players that are playing.”
On Monday, Marrone indicated that Minshew’s workload wasn’t where he wanted it to be, but on Wednesday the Jaguars’ head coach appeared to reverse course, indicating it might be too much of a workload right now.
“It’s actually too much workload, so we’re working through that with [Offensive Coordinator] Jay [Gruden] and [Quarterbacks Coach] Ben [McAdoo] and Gardner to know exactly what that workload is, seeing him go out there in practice and throw,” said Marrone. “That’s been in my discussions so we’re trying to work through it trying to understand it.”
For Gruden, the decision to play or sit Minshew will be dictated by Marrone, and he doesn’t see much of a difference between the Minshew of old and the Minshew of now, at least from what he can see in limited repetitions in practice. Gruden also added that he didn’t see any difference between Minshew’s throwing when he had the thumb injury.
“So, only Gardner can tell you how his arm is feeling and then obviously, only Coach Marrone can make that decision to go back to Gardner if he sees fit.”
None of the comments made by the team’s head coach nor the team’s offensive coordinator breeds any sort of confidence Minshew will re-take his job, something that seemed impossible when the season first began.
A fall from grace appears likely, and every week that the mustached-quarterback doesn’t start a game gives all the more reason to believe he may never do so in a Jaguars uniform again.