Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II is making progress in recovery from the thumb injury that has cost him the last two weeks, but not enough to make the start against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11.
"Gardner will go out and maybe throw a little, but he won't be ready -- so Jake [Luton] will be playing," Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said in a media conference Monday.
With Minshew essentially already being ruled out by his head coach on a Monday, it appears a certainty the Jaguars (1-8) will start sixth-round rookie quarterback Jake Luton against the 9-0 Steelers in Jacksonville on Sunday.
Luton has started the last two games, both losses, for the Jaguars while Minshew has been on the mend for the first time in his professional career. Marrone has to this point been noncommittal on what will happen at quarterback when Minshew is recovered, but it appears as of now that moment is at least inching closer.
"We will look at routes on air. He is feeling a little bit better, not fully 100%," Marrone said about Minshew on Monday.
"So when we throw routes on air during practice he will throw and see how he feels for the first time -- see how it is after that, then we will take it from there. But he won't be ready.
Through seven games Minshew completed 65.9% of his passes for 1,855 yards (6.9 yards per attempt) with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. He compiled a 1-6 record in the process, though his last two to three starts were impacted by a thumb injury that he reportedly sustained in Week 5 against the Houston Texans.
Minshew started the next two games after Week 5 but reported the injury to the Jaguars after a Week 7 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. A sixth-round pick in 2019, Minshew was given the reins to the Jaguars in 2020 after he impressed as a rookie, going 6-6 on a bad 2019 Jaguars team.
But 2020 has proven to be difficult for Minshew, and now the question is whether he will be able to get his job back from Luton once he recovers. Through two games, Luton has completed 60.3% of his passes for 473 yards (6.5 yards per attempt) with two touchdowns and two interceptions, as well as a rushing touchdown.
"Right now we’re not at that point. I know this is a hypothetical. Right now, I want to see Gardner [Minshew II] be able to throw first. I want to see where he throws, then obviously I’ll be able to evaluate his game, like common sense stuff, and then be able to have a better idea then of what’s going on," Marrone said last week.
"Because if he’s not throwing the ball well because of the thumb, well then, that decision’s easy. I think that if something happens and Jake [Luton] doesn’t perform well and then Gardner’s ready to go, then that decision [will be made]. The question that’s going to come is the decision of, like you said, how is Jake playing, how is Gardner looking compared to what he was before, and then making a decision on who’s the best player that can win these games. That’s probably, logically, how I’m going about it without really thinking about it.”