What could be the biggest decision in Jaguars history looms large for head coach Doug Marrone.
On Tuesday, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone is going to stand at a podium inside TIAA Bank Field where he will be asked the same question he was asked after the team’s 26-3 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon.
Who will start for the Jaguars in Week 11 against the Indianapolis Colts?
Marrone, who has had to deal with his fair share of controversy this season in the first nine weeks of the NFL season, is once again faced with a tough assignment – putting veteran quarterback Nick Foles back on the field after missing the last eight weeks with a broken clavicle or sticking with rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, who played his worst game of the season on Sunday.
"“Well, I haven’t spoken to either quarterback yet, and I hate talking through the media about my plans, but the plans were — again, the disappointment of the team, not performing well, will be on my mind now for the next 48 hours,” Marrone said.“I think after those 48 hours are over, I’m going to step away a little bit, take a break because I don’t have to make a decision and have time. That’s what I’m going to talk to the quarterbacks about, and then I’ll tell them probably right before we come back on Sunday, we’ll be able to discuss where we’re going to go.“That’s pretty much my plan.”"
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Truth be told, Marrone and the coaching staff can take the time they need to get this one right. No matter what decision is made, there will be some clap back from the Jaguars fan base, which can be expected looking at it from a financial and performance perspective.
Minshew looks like a magician at times on the field, keeping plays and drives alive with his quick thinking and mobility. He ranks amongst the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL in yards thrown and as a 13-4 touchdown to interception ratio. But like we saw Sunday morning when we all woke up, he looked very much like a rookie at times and has issues holding onto the football.
If there was ever a player who walked into the stadium and was proclaimed a “savior” even before he threw a football in Jacksonville, it was Foles. An $88-million deal and a football that looks as pretty in the air as any thrown in Jacksonville’s history won this fan base over from the moment OTAs began. But there are some concerns as well with him moving forward.
Injury, of course, is now a concern. Chemistry is another. Mobility can be added to this list. Foles came to Jacksonville as everything Blake Bortles wasn’t and owned a Super Bowl ring to boot. Minshew’s presence on the field, mixed with the renegade, rockstar persona off of it makes him a beloved figure in Jaguars lore even if only in nine weeks of gameplay.
It’s a great debate and dilemma to have, but one that will affect the Jaguars moving forward. As someone told me the other day, Foles is the present of this organization while Minshew is the future. Since when he this kind of “controversy” been this good for this team? The Jaguars offense is better this season than it was last year with Minshew under center. Foles could make it even better with his leadership and experience.
And maybe a change could solve the issues the Jaguars have in the red zone and the running game, where Leonard Fournette leads the AFC in rushing but has but one touchdown this season.
"“It’s not one game,” Marrone said when explaining how he will make the decision for a starter at Indianapolis. “It’ll be a body of work.”"
Not only does Marrone have a tough decision to make, but he also has a wise one to consider as well.