Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone turned to Gardner Minshew at quarterback on Sunday looking for a spark, and plans to ride the rookie again this week over high-priced passer Nick Foles.
Foles was benched Sunday in Jacksonville’s 28-11 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Marrone said the decision to move forward with Minshew isn’t all on the quarterback.
“Overall, we’re not able to give him a clean pocket,” Marrone said, pointing to Minshew’s mobility as an asset.
Minshew has a passer rating of 91.1 with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions this season.
Jacksonville (4-8) faces the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday looking to go 5-4 in games started by Minshew. He started eight games in Foles’ absence after entering Week 1 when Foles suffered a collarbone injury. The Jaguars signed Foles to a four-year, $88 million contract in free agency.
When Marrone met the media Sunday after another defeat, he said he “wanted to get a spark” from Minshew. He didn’t say at the time that he would replace Foles as the starter, but on Monday clarified that Jacksonville is in must-win mode to open December. The Jaguars are on a four-game losing streak with each defeat coming by 17 points or more.
Foles is 0-4 as a starter since signing with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent and only two years removed from winning Super Bowl MVP, guiding the Philadelphia Eagles to the Lombardi Trophy. Foles went down Week 1 against Kansas City with broken clavicle.
On Sunday, he completed seven of 14 passes for 93 yards and no touchdowns with an interception and three turnovers before Minshew entered the game.
“It’s not easy,” Foles said Sunday. “This is not an easy game and it’s a tough situation, but I’ll continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. It’s a trial and the trials keep coming. Again, it’s not easy but I know where my heart and faith is and where I’m going to lean on in this time like I always do during the good and bad. You never want to go through it. It’s difficult, but I will look at the bright things and continue to keep my head held high. Continue to keep moving forward.”