Gardner Minshew II Named Jaguars' QB vs. Chargers After Nick Foles' Benching

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 2, 2019

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) scrambles away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (90) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday Dec. 1, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

The Jacksonville Jaguars are rolling with the hot hand and starting rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

Head coach Doug Marrone announced the news at his Monday press conference, per ESPN's Michael DiRocco. Marrone cited Minshew's mobility and elusiveness in light of the Jaguars' current pass protection troubles.

"Overall we're not being able to give him [Nick Foles] a clean pocket," Marrone said.

Foles signed a four-year, $88 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the offseason but suffered a broken collarbone in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Minshew took over and excelled, completing 61.2 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and four interceptions in nine games (eight starts). Jacksonville went 4-4 when Minshew began a game.

Foles came off injured reserve in Week 11 against the Indianapolis Colts. He struggled to move the team downfield in two-and-a-half games, however, averaging just 5.61 adjusted yards per pass attempt, according to Pro Football Reference. He was also sacked eight times.

Minshew took over at halftime of the team's 28-11 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday and got it going with a 16-of-27 performance for 147 yards, one touchdown and one pick. Minshew only had eight rushing yards but is more mobile than Foles, running for 243 yards on the year.

Foles will live in NFL lore forever after replacing an injured Carson Wentz in Week 14 and leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl LII win.

The backup excelled again in Wentz's place in 2018, going 3-0 in the final three weeks of the regular season to lead the 9-7 Eagles into the playoffs. He then guided Philadelphia to an upset win over the host Chicago Bears in the NFC Wild Card Round.

He's capable of leading a team to the sport's greatest height, but his Jacksonville tenure hasn't worked out. However, the story could be far different if he didn't suffer a freak injury in Week 1, which occurred after he released a 35-yard touchdown pass to DJ Chark Jr. against the Kansas City Chiefs.

As for the new starter, Minshew Mania is officially back in Jacksonville, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports argued that it never should have stopped:

Jason La Canfora @JasonLaCanfora

Jags never shoulda ditched Minshew Mania. Only smart move was to see as much of the rookie as possible this month. Better late than never. Big changes coming to Jacksonville in 2020

Regardless, the Jags' season is over as they play out the string of a 4-8 season. They may as well play the rookie and see what he can bring as the team looks toward the 2020 campaign.