As the Jaguars enter the second half of the season barely trailing the Colts and Texans in the AFC South, a conundrum has presented itself: Stick with Gardner Minshew as their starting quarterback or re-insert Nick Foles into the starting lineup?
One would think that after seeing Minshew start seven games since NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that the Jaguars are still undecided on how they’ll proceed at quarterback once Foles is able to return and that Minshew might actually be playing for his job against the Texans on Sunday.the Jaguars would’ve already made their decision. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. On Saturday,
“They’ve said publicly they haven’t even thought of a quarterback change. I’m telling you that is the God’s honest truth. They have not made a decision about what’s going to happen after the bye,” Garafolo said, adding: “In essence, I think you’ve got Gardner Minshew potentially playing for his job tomorrow.”
It’s difficult to imagine the Jaguars would bench Minshew if he helps them beat the Texans on Sunday. They’d be 5-4, tied with the Texans in the division, and only trailing the 5-2 Colts, who have played one fewer game. If the Jaguars win on Sunday, Minshew’s record as the team’s starting quarterback will improve to 5-3. Would the Jaguars really be wiling to bench that successful of a starting quarterback just because he’s paid less money than Foles, who(that immediately looked foolish from the team’s perspective)?
Regardless of what happens on Sunday, 11th in DYAR, and 10th in DVOA. He’s playing like the franchise quarterback the Jaguars have been desperate for — and he’s doing it in his rookie year as a sixth-round pick. Even if Minshew struggles down the stretch, the Jaguars should probably still be devoted to developing him so that they can build a team around him and his cheap rookie contract.. Entering Week 9, he ranked 14th in yards per attempt (7.6), tied for 10th in touchdown passes (13), tied for 31st in interceptions (2), 11th in passer rating (98.8),
To put it another way, the only reason the Jaguars are in a position where this is a difficult decision to make is because Minshew has put them in it. No one expected Minshew to play well enough to steal Foles’ job and keep the Jaguars in the playoff race, but that’s exactly what he’s done. For that, he deserves to keep his job. He deserves the chance to finish the season and see if he can lead Jacksonville to the playoffs.
But we’re talking about the Jaguars, the same team that stuck with Blake Bortles for one year too many, drafted Leonard Fournette over Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes (and Christian McCaffrey, since they really felt the need to take a running back), and handed Foles a monster deal in free agency. It really wouldn’t be that surprising if they made the move back to Foles.
Foles is eligible to come off injured reserve after Nov. 6. With the Jaguars on their bye week after their London game on Sunday, Foles could return in Week 11 against the Colts — another game that will go a long way toward determining the fate of the division. So, the Jaguars can’t really afford to make the wrong decision. Whatever decision they make will likely come to define their season.