Minshew or Foles? Jaguars and OC Jay Gruden Will Weigh Options for Starting QB

John Shipley

The Jacksonville Jaguars have done everything they can in recent months to not name a starting quarterback, stating both Gardner Minshew II and Nick Foles will battle for the position before the season. 

The one man who will play potentially the largest role in eventually picking between the two? New offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

Gruden was hired in January to replace John DeFilippo, who coordinated the Jaguars' offense in 2019 and left the team a few weeks following the conclusion of the season. The former Washington Redskins head coach will now have to navigate a crowded quarterbacks room and help bring stability and consistency to the position, something the Jaguars have lacked in recent years.

So with Gruden weighing his options at quarterback for the next several months, how does he view his two passers now? In an interview with Jaguars.com, he gave insight into his thoughts on the quarterbacks.

"Nick had an unfortunate injury. He comes in, throws a nice touchdown pass and breaks his collarbone [in Week 1 last season]," Gruden told Jaguars.com. "Then he came back and had a couple of rough games and not all his fault."

Following a Week 1 clavicle injury that would sideline him until Week 11, Foles stepped back into the lineup for three starts before being replaced at halftime of Week 13's loss vs. Tampa Bay after turning the ball over three times in the first half. Foles went 0-4 as a starter in an injury-riddled first year in Jacksonville, recording 77/117 passing (65.8%) for 736 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.

While Foles was sidelined, Minshew, a sixth-round rookie, stepped in when Foles was injured in Week 1 and led the Jaguars to a 4-5 record before Foles took his place back in the offense. In Week 13, he took the job back at halftime and never gave it back. He ended his season going 6-6 as a starter and recording 285/470 passing (60.6%) for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

"Gardner's an exciting player and people tend to gravitate toward his personality and energy," Gruden said. "Nothing against Nick; Nick's still a great quarterback. They're two different quarterbacks. Both of them have a lot to work with. Nick has a live arm, a strong arm, great pocket passer, accurate, played in big games."

How head coach Doug Marrone addresses the quarterback situation and sort out who should start will likely be the defining point of the Jaguars' 2020 season. As of now, neither Minshew or Foles has a public leg up on the other. But soon enough, the Jaguars will have to weigh the options for a final time as Marrone decides which quarterback he will be molding his offense around.

Gruden will he tasked with helping develop whoever wins the starting job. One way or another, the Jaguars are going to need the Week 1 starter to take a step forward from 2019. Gruden has worked with both young and veteran quarterbacks in the past, so he at least brings experience as a play-caller with a variety of quarterbacks. 

In his years with the Bengals and Redskins, Gruden worked with a young Andy Dalton, Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith, and others. Gruden brings experience regardless of which way the Jaguars ultimately lean at quarterback, and the winner of the competition should b a fit in the offense.