JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Gardner Minshew was back on the field for the first time in nearly two months Sunday and seemingly did enough to reclaim Jacksonville’s starting quarterback job.
But he will have to wait along with everyone else for coach Doug Marrone to make a decision on the team’s most volatile position.
Minshew threw for 178 yards and a touchdown in a 31-10 loss to Tennessee, most of it against a prevent defense, and looked to be the Jaguars’ best option to win games down the stretch. Marrone, though, declined to name a starter moving forward.
“I haven’t spoken to both guys so just out of respect for them,” Marrone said following the team’s 12th consecutive loss, one shy of tying the franchise record. “Obviously, I have in my mind what I want to do. But I’m actually going to make sure I speak to them first before I do something through the media.”
Jacksonville plays at Baltimore next Sunday.
Marrone benched Mike Glennon following his fourth turnover (plus a safety) in six quarters and turned to Minshew for the first time since Week 7. Minshew missed several weeks with a right thumb injury, but even after being deemed fully healthy, he remained on the bench behind Glennon.
Minshew entered the game to a loud applause from the nearly 16,000 fans on hand. He immediately led Jacksonville to a touchdown, capping his first drive in nearly two months with a 5-yard throw to Keelan Cole.
He also drove Jacksonville to the red zone two more times, ending both drives with failed fourth-down passes.
“It’s something that I really missed,” Minshew said. “I missed the camaraderie with the guys. I missed being out there. As much as you’re always a part of the team, it’s just something different when you really are out there with the guys. It’s always special.”
It was too little too late since the Titans led 31-3 when Minshew came off the bench late in the third quarter.
But his brief outing was a fairly clear indication that Minshew is a better option than the rookie Jake Luton or the veteran Glennon. Luton started three games before getting benched in favor of Glennon following a four-interception performance against Pittsburgh. Glennon looked solid in his first start in more than three years against Cleveland, but he has been mostly sporadic since.
Glennon completed 13 of 23 passes for 85 yards in nearly three quarters against the Titans (9-4), who got 215 yards and two touchdowns from Derrick Henry.
“He threw some good balls and we left some plays out there and he had some drops,” Marrone said. “Just tough. I think it’s not on one person. I mean, I think everyone can see that. There’s a lot of things that we’ve got to keep working on and keep trying to improve upon.
“I don’t think it’s the one position right now that we can point to. I think we’ve just got to try to see whoever it is is whoever gives us the best chance to try to win a football game.”
That sure looks like Minshew, who has completed 65.1% of his passes for 2,033 yards, with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions in eight games. Minshew’s passer rating is 93.4, nearly 20 points higher than Glennon’s and nearly 40 points higher than Luton’s.
“There’s always that itch,” Minshew said. “And there’s really nothing to scratch at that (other than) just getting out there and playing.”
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