JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jaguars are making a quarterback change in the midst of a franchise-record-tying nine-game losing streak, as coach Doug Marrone is going with Mike Glennon over rookie Jake Luton and second-year player Gardner Minshew against the Cleveland Browns, he announced Wednesday.
This will be Glennon’s first start since Sept. 28, 2017, when he was with the Chicago Bears. He started the first four games that season before being benched for rookie Mitchell Trubisky, whom the Bears drafted with the second overall pick. Glennon has thrown just 31 passes since then — 21 with Arizona and 10 with Oakland — over the past two seasons.
Glennon’s last appearance came Nov. 24, 2019, when he completed 4 of 7 passes in the Raiders’ 34-3 loss to the New York Jets.
“I think [Glennon] gives us the best chance to win,” Marrone said. “Like I said before, Jake’s going to take a step back, Gardner’s still limited without a full-week workload on. I don’t want to put anyone out there that I haven’t seen do a full workweek. Mike’s experienced, and that’s why we brought him in here, to be able to fill in whenever we need him. So he’ll get his opportunity.”
Minshew started the first seven games of the season but had missed the past three with a thumb injury. Marrone decided to start Luton, the team’s sixth-round pick, over Glennon, and the former Oregon State standout played solidly against the Houston Texans, struggled a bit in the wind against the Green Bay Packers and then was terrible against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, going 16-of-37 for 151 yards and four interceptions.
“I told Jake that, ‘Hey we really appreciate everything. We really like a lot of things that you’re doing, but we’re just going to take a step back and just kind of digest things for a while,'” Marrone said. “… He’s fine, and I think he’s got a chance to become a good football player in this league. Gardner said he’s feeling good. … I just feel like we can’t get enough throws in during this week.”
In addition to the quarterback change, the Jaguars are shuffling coaching duties this week and on Sunday as the entire defensive staff is working remotely because of coronavirus protocols. The biggest change: Marrone and assistant special-teams coordinator Mike Mallory will run the defense in practice and secondary/safeties coach Joe Danna will call the defense Sunday against the Browns.
“[Danna] has called the defense here last year during preseason. He’s called them in the preseason games, I’m sure some in Atlanta, and he’s done it at Georgia Southern,” Marrone said. “Obviously, we worked together and have been on the phones with him [this week]. That’s something that I think most teams really prepare for in case of an emergency, and obviously with COVID everything is kind of ramped up to making sure that we’re all backed up in everything that we do.”
Defensive coordinator Todd Wash, defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich and defensive assistant Dwayne Stukes will not be available Sunday, Marrone said. Assistant linebackers coach Tony Gilbert will coach the defensive line during the game.
Minshew began throwing last week as he recovers from the thumb injury. He originally suffered the injury against the Texans on Oct. 11 but hid the injury from the coaching staff the next two weeks. Minshew has 13 touchdown passes and five interceptions, but he hasn’t significantly improved on the issues that plagued him as a rookie last season: comfort in the pocket, arm strength, throwing receivers open and working the middle of the field.
The Jaguars had decided to give Minshew the 2020 season to prove he could be the long-term starter, but with the team at 1-9 and in a battle with the New York Jets for the No. 1 overall pick, it’s a virtual guarantee they will draft a quarterback in the spring.
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