JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone has no idea who his starting quarterback is going to be this week.
It’ll be rookie Jake Luton, veteran Mike Glennon or Gardner Minshew, who has missed the last three games because of a thumb injury, who takes the first snap against Cleveland at TIAA Bank Field, but Marrone said he’s going to take a few days to decide.
It’s a big decision because the longest losing streak in team history hangs in the balance.
“During the week we’ll evaluate it,” Marrone said after Sunday’s 27-3 loss to Pittsburgh. “I don’t think I’ll have an answer on Monday when I get asked the question, but as the week goes we’ll take a look at see what we can do, what’s the best thing for our team.”
Luton, the Jaguars’ sixth-round pick this past spring, has started the past three weeks but played his worst game against the Steelers. He completed just 16-of-37 passes for 151 yards and threw four interceptions and finished with a 17.7 passer rating. He was under significant pressure and air-mailed several throws, including two that were intercepted.
Marrone admitted that he considered benching Luton for Glennon, who hasn’t played in a game since Nov. 24, 2019, but held off to see how Luton handled the rough day.
“They [the Steelers] were doing a lot [on defense],” Marrone said. “They’ve been doing it against everyone. I kind of went back and forth for a little bit. I mean, truthfully, I was thinking to myself, ‘Listen, do we keep him in there?' And you talk about getting experience. Is that going to get experience? And then is it good enough where we are.”
Glennon hasn’t started a game since Week 4 of the 2017 season, when he was with the Chicago Bears. He lost his job the following week to rookie Mitchell Trubisky and spent the 2018 season with Arizona and 2019 season with Oakland.
Minshew started the first seven games of the season but played the final two with a thumb injury that he hid from the coaching staff. He played well in the first two games and has 13 touchdowns 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.
Marrone opted for Luton instead of Glennon as Minshew’s replacement because he wanted to get a look at the 6-foot-6 rookie with the big arm. Though there was no official announcement, there was a feeling around the organization that the Jaguars would stick with Luton as the starter the rest of the season for an extended look at the former Oregon State standout because Minshew hadn’t done enough to prove he could be the long-term starter.
Minshew, however, is the only quarterback on the roster who has won a game for the franchise. In addition to winning six last season as Nick Foles’ replacement, he also led the Jaguars to a 27-20 upset of Indianapolis in the season opener.
That might factor into Marrone’s decision because the Jaguars have lost nine consecutive games, which ties the mark for the longest single-season losing streak in franchise history.
“This one hurts,” Luton said after Sunday’s loss. “Just like all the losses have, you know, but like [running back] James [Robinson] said, we all want to win. We want to win every week and we show up every day with that mindset and that’s not going to change.”
But the quarterback might.