The Jacksonville Jaguars will likely be without quarterback Gardner Minshew in week nine when they host their division rivals, the Houston Texans.
Minshew has multiple fractures and a strained ligament in his throwing hand and began feeling discomfort on October 11th, when the Jaguars lost to the Texans. Despite dealing with some pain, Minshew didn't miss a snap. But during the Jaguars bye in week eight, an X-ray revealed the fractures.
With Minshew expected to miss some time, the Jaguars have reportedly (per Ian Rapoport) told backup quarterbacks Jake Luton and Mike Glennon to be ready to compete for the starting job in week nine.
Mike Glennon has bounced around in recent years. Originally drafted by the Bucs in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, he earned playing time in Tampa and faired well on the field. After the Bears signed him to a three year, $45 million deal in 2017, Glennon started just four games for Chicago, giving way to rookie Mitch Trubisky. Glennon then bounced around from Arizona to Oakland and found his way to Jacksonville this offseason.
Jake Luton went through his fair share of setbacks before reaching the NFL, including a dangerous spinal injury in 2017. Luton bounced back, however, and had a standout senior year at Oregon State in 2019. He threw 28 touchdown passes to just three interceptions during his final year in Corvallis.
This all begs the question, who should the Jaguars roll out when they host the Texans next week?
Context is important here. The Jaguars, with their 1-6 record, are not competing for a playoff spot in 2020. The rest of the season is about developing young players and the evaluation of talent on the roster.
If the Jaguars were in a position to compete down the stretch, it would be easy to make the argument that Mike Glennon, who is more of a career backup type, should start. Glennon is much more experienced than rookie Jake Luton.
But with Luton, you have the unknown. The Jags don't yet know what they have in the sixth-round pick. He provides more potential than does the 30-year old Glennon. And Luton impressed down the stretch in training camp. "Jake (Luton) has been very impressive since the minute he walked into the building with his knowledge of the offense," said Jaguars' offensive coordinator Jay Gruden after the team scrimmage in training camp. "His ability to learn, his ability to throw the ball, down the field, short passes with touch."
Gruden continued to speak highly of Luton, "Yes, I think that's been the biggest pleasant surprise, I would say is his ability to come in here and learn. He plays with great poise and confidence for a young player. We put him in the number one huddle a couple times, and he has shown no sign of being intimidated. He fits right in there, like I said, he's got great accuracy, he's got great arm strength, so we've been very impressed with him."
It's a fairly obvious choice from my vantage point. Get the rookie in there and see if he can handle the big time. Chances are he won't do enough to ruin the Jaguars' draft spot, but he could potentially show that he's a long-term option as a backup or even follow in Rob Johnson's footsteps as trade bait. The Jaguars have nothing to gain from inserting Glennon into the lineup at this point in the season.
Jaguars' leadership might call this a "competition," but if they've got any sense, Luton is the only legitimate option.
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