Doug Marrone on Luton-Minshew Situation: ‘There’s No Decision, Really, to Make Right Now’

John Shipley

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In a few weeks, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone is going to have to make a big decision at the sport's most important position. For now, Marrone is keeping that decision at a distance. 

"And everybody’s going to ask me—I got asked on the radio show which I do prior to this—Gardner [Minshew II] right now is not throwing, so there’s no decision, really, to make right now," Marrone said after Sunday's 27-25 loss to the Houston Texans. 

"So, I’m not really looking at the future because it’s going to take me a while to get over this one. I’m kind of pissed.”

Stepping in for an injured Gardner Minshew, Jaguars rookie quarterback Jake Luton made his NFL debut on Sunday, completing 68.4% of his passes for 304 yards (8.0 yards per attempt) with a touchdown and an interception in a tight loss. 

It wasn't a perfect day for Luton by any means, but he was able to lead the Jaguars on three touchdown drives, adding a 13-yard touchdown run to give the Jaguars a chance to tie the game with 1:30 left. 

In a two-minute situation while down eight points, Luton gave the Jaguars a chance to win the ballgame. For a sixth-round pick making his first-ever appearance in any NFL game, regular season or preseason, that is worth something. 

Whether it was enough to give Luton the job even when Minshew is cleared to return to the field is another question entirely, however. 

“We take one thing at a time. I think that I was impressed with a lot of things, just the plays in-and-out, no delays of game. I thought he made some really nice throws," Marrone said about his rookie passer on Sunday. 

"I thought there were some that, obviously, you’re going to want to have back. I think when you’re first-time starting and you’re down by a score and a 2-point conversion and you lead your team down the field to potentially tie the game with a 2-point conversion, I think that’s another checkmark. So, there’s a lot of checkmarks."

While today isn't the time to debate whether Luton or Minshew should lead the 1-7 Jaguars the rest of the way in 2020, it is certainly a choice the Jaguars are going to have to make sooner than later. This isn't lost on Marrone or Luton, and will continue to be the hot-button topic surrounding the team for the next eight weeks. 

What Luton will have to do to earn the job from a healthy Minshew -- or what he would have to do to lose it -- remains to be seen. That is something that only Marrone and his staff can determine. Wins would, obviously, play a major role in the decision, but whether the Jaguars are as competitive as they were in Week 9 will also likely play a role.

“That’s not really my decision. I think I’m going to do everything I can to put this team in a position to win and I think Gardner and Mike [Glennon] are going to do the same thing," Luton said after Sunday's loss. 

"We all prepare really, really hard every single week, regardless of who the guy is going to be out there taking snaps on Sunday. We’re all preparing that way and helping each other be the best we can be so, I’m not sure. We’ll come back tomorrow, watch it, and keep working and supporting each other.”

Minshew started the first seven games of the season before a thumb injury forced him to miss the first game of his career. Marrone said earlier in the week that there is no time frame for Minshew's return to the field.

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