Jaguars tab QB Gardner Minshew to start vs. Chargers

Jaguars tab QB Gardner Minshew to start vs. Chargers

Minshew Mania is back on.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will start rookie Gardner Minshew in Week 14 versus the Los Angeles Chargers, coach Doug Marrone announced Monday.

The decision comes after the Jags benched Nick Foles at halftime of their 28-11 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville’s fourth straight loss by 17 or more points.

Foles led a vanilla offense for two-and-a-half games since returning from a collarbone injury suffered in Week 1. During that span, the veteran completed 72 of 109 pass attempts for 661 yards, with two TDs, two INTs and two lost fumbles, as the Jags scored just 33 points over 10 quarters.

The Jags gave Foles his job back despite Minshew’s impressive play early in the season, in part because of the massive amount of money they sunk into the veteran this offseason, and also believing he could prove similarly productive if given more than a quarter to play. Sunday’s three-turnover, listless first half ended that experiment, at least for now.

In the first half versus the Bucs, the Jags put up just 105 yards of total offense, with 70 net passing yards, five first downs and three turnovers, and put a goose egg on the scoreboard. The second half under Minshew was slightly better, with 137 yards, 123 net passing, nine first downs, one INT and 11 points.

The Jags’ offense has been more exciting to watch with Minshew under center. It’s not just the off-field swag that accompanies the mustachioed rookie, but his pocket mobility, fearlessness under pressure and ability to escape that made Jacksonville eminently more watchable.

In making the switch to Minshew, Marrone cited the rookie’s mobility behind a struggling offensive line as one reason for the move.

Where the offense and team go from here will be determined by Minshew’s play down the stretch. With Foles set to count for nearly $22 million in cap space next offseason, the Jags will have some big decisions to make in the spring, especially if Minshew Mania picks up where it left off.