Jacksonville Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew says he has 'begged' to play

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II says he pleaded with head coach Doug Marrone to put him back on the field after he was medically cleared from a thumb injury late last month.

Yet Marrone opted to go with veteran Mike Glennon against the Cleveland Browns, and he's still sticking with Glennon this week even after his three-turnover performance against Minnesota last Sunday.

"It's so frustrating," Minshew said. "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."

That's a role that could be permanent, depending on how well Glennon plays against Tennessee and in the following weeks. Marrone says he knows Minshew isn't happy, but he wants to see Minshew look better in practice before he'll consider putting him back into the lineup.

"We talked today and just like I've told him, I just want to see more practice," Marrone said. "I think he's working on his volume and the amount of throws and all of that. Obviously he's cleared medically, but still you want to be able to see those things on the practice field. I just think right now in practice Mike is throwing better and gives us the best chance to win.

"I don't think Gardner's 100% as far as his workload, and that's always a concern to me, and I'm trying to understand it. We're both trying to work through it."

Minshew -- who will be participating in an exclusive USAA Salute to Service Virtual Lounge chalk talk for military members, veterans and their families on Tuesday night -- hasn't played since the Jaguars' 39-29 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 25. He told the team after the game that he had actually suffered a thumb injury in the Oct. 11 game against Houston but hid the injury for two weeks.

Marrone started rookie Jake Luton for the next three games but a four-interception performance in the Jaguars' 27-3 loss to Pittsburgh spurred Marrone to make a change. Although Minshew had begun throwing again before the Steelers game, Marrone opted for Glennon. He has started the past two games, which the Jaguars have lost by a combined five points.

Marrone said Minshew's unhappiness at not playing hasn't become a problem.

"We've been having a lot of conversations, so it's not a problem at all," Marrone said. "Whatever he feels he can do what's best for the team, he'll do. He's said that quite a bit. I don't see a problem there. The communication's been fine. I think everything's been up front. I think everything's been talked about. So I feel comfortable with that.

"I think he's trying to do everything he can to get himself back to a point where he feels comfortable and his workload is right."

The Jaguars had decided to give Minshew the 2020 season to prove he could be the long-term starter, and while he threw 13 touchdown passes to five interceptions in the seven games in which he played, he hasn't significantly improved on the issues that plagued him as a rookie last season: comfort in the pocket, arm strength, throwing to receivers open, and working the middle of the field.

The Jaguars have lost 11 in a row and are currently in a battle with the New York Jets for the No. 1 overall pick, and it's a virtual guarantee they will draft a quarterback.

So what does that mean for Minshew's long-term future in Jacksonville? Let him compete with the draft pick? Keep him as the backup? Let him compete with Luton to be the backup? Trade?

"I don't know," Minshew said. "I mean, I don't know if anybody has a long-term future right now just being the nature of being 1-11, so there's really no telling how things'll shake out. I can just control what I can, and we'll go from there."

Minshew, however, is looking forward to the virtual lounge talk on Tuesday night. He'll be answering questions submitted at SaluteToService.com beginning at 7 p.m. ET (it will be broadcast on the website), and he said he was excited to be asked to participate, especially because his grandfather was a member of the Air Force and he was able to fly with the Air Force Thunderbirds this past January.

"Any time to connect with our military community, especially coming from a town in Jacksonville where we have the naval base and Mayport [Naval Air Station], it's just going to be a good time," Minshew said. "... In a year that's been so crazy where connection is so limited, I really miss that part of the game, being so connected with the fans. To be able to give back and hang out with our military members, it's just going to be a good time."