Quarterback Nathan Rourke has had a fruitful preseason for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He broke the internet and even got Patrick Mahomes' attention for his heroics against the Dallas Cowboys in the opener. And he picked up where he left off against the Detroit Lions. However, that hasn't been nearly enough to seize the No. 2 job from C.J. Beathard, according to head coach Doug Pederson.
Following the Jags' 25-7 win over Detroit, Pederson met with the local media. He said that Rourke has done a good job and has done everything the team has asked him to do. However, Beathard remains the top backup at the position behind Trevor Lawrence.
"Nathan did well again today. Couple of touchdown drives there, he's done a nice job and exactly what we asked him to do," Pederson said in regards to Rourke. "C.J.'s the No. 2 and Trevor obviously, No. 1."
Pederson went on to compliment Beathard, "I like the way C.J. operates and like his mental capacity, the way he thinks. He sees the field extremely well. He's tough, you saw somebody's athleticism today with the movement skills and stuff with him. And he throws a really good football. In the end, he played well today, led us into a couple of field goal drives today."
Beathard got the starting nod against Detroit and went 12-of-20 for 128 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He had a 13-yard scramble in the first quarter scrubbed by a holding penalty committed by left tackle Cam Robinson. Against Dallas, he 46 percent of his passes for 80 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Meanwhile, Rourke is 19-of-29 for 274 yards with two touchdowns and one pick over the last two games.
There is no competition between CJ Beathard and Nathan Rourke for the Jaguars
In fairness, Rourke has played pretty well in the preseason but context matters. He's been going against second and third-team defenses. Nobody will take away his huge play against Dallas last week but that kind of play is rare, which is why it went viral.
As Michael DiRocco of ESPN noted, Pederson knows a thing or two about quarterbacks. He turned Carson Wentz into an MVP candidate in 2017 and won Super Bowl 52 with Nick Foles as his backup. Also, he also helped untap Trevor Lawrence's potential in his first season with the Jaguars. And just because Rourke is having a productive preseason, Pederson will rush to make him the top backup.
The Jags signed Rourke in January because he was an intriguing developmental prospect coming off a couple of productive seasons with the B.C. Lions in the CFL. So far, he's lived up to expectations and seems in a favorable position to earn a roster spot.
That said, expecting Rourke to be more than a third-string quarterback might be a tall ask, which is why Pederson shut down the notion of him being the primary backup as soon as it was brought up to his attention.