Why the Jaguars Are Starting Glennon, Not Minshew, Vs. the Browns

Gardner Minshew is progressing from his injury, but Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone is choosing Mike Glennon over Minshew this week due to Minshew not being able to get a full week of practice in.

Mike Glennon is set to become the 21st starting quarterback in Jacksonville Jaguars history on Sunday, a move head coach Doug Marrone announced on Wednesday as his 1-9 team prepares to host the Cleveland Browns. 

The move to Glennon, who hasn't started a game since Week 4 in 2017, is one Marrone had to balance with the health of Gardner Minshew II and the poor play of rookie starter Jake Luton. 

It was clear after Week 11 the Jaguars wouldn't start Luton against the Browns. Four interceptions are tough to come back from, even if it comes against an elite defense like Pittsburgh's. But it was less clear that Minshew would be asked to wait at least more week as he recovers from a thumb injury that has sidelined him for the last three games.

"He’s still listed as limited on the report. I just feel like we can’t get enough throws in during this week. I want him to have a full week of full load of work before I put someone in there," Marrone said Wednesday. 

"I don’t have a problem with him backing up this week and if he has to go in for a quarter or half a game or whatever it may be if something happens with Mike, then at least he’s available. Then obviously, Mike will go ahead and he’ll get the start. So, that was the thought process there." 

As long as Minshew throws well in practice with the increased reps he sees throughout the week, he will be expected to backup Glennon against the Browns. But the move to start the eighth-year veteran who has more or less been a career journeyman Minshew is still an interesting one.

Minshew entered the season as Jacksonville's starting quarterback and started the first seven games, one year after he started 12 games as a sixth-round rookie. There is more tape out there on Glennon as a starter than there is of Minshew, so it isn't a situation in which Marrone and the Jaguars need to do some fact-finding about Glennon. 

Instead, the move is due to Marrone wanting to see an entire week of Minshew at practice before he lets him back onto the field. The signal-caller is nearing the end of his recovery process, but for at least one more week Minshew will watch from the sideline.

"Yeah, I just think I want to see a whole week’s work. I want to get a full week’s work in there know that he’s ready to go, he’s 100 percent," Marrone said. "That was the one thing I wanted to do so I think we’re at that last stage right now.”

For Glennon, he will be asked to snap a nine-game losing streak and help elevate an offense that has scored one touchdown in two weeks and just four touchdowns over the last three games.

While Minshew wasn't playing well before he was sat down with the injury, his numbers were on pace to match or exceed what he did in 2019. His touchdown percentage, passer rating, ESPN's QB rating, and his completion percentage were all better in 2019. He wasn't playing perfectly, but he has been their best quarterback in 2020. 

But despite this, Minshew will see Glennon take control of the offense against Cleveland, a result that is solely due to his injury and the importance of the position.

" I’ve seen him throw a little bit. I want to make sure someone I put out there is 100 percent. I don’t want any setbacks. I want someone out there that is 100 percent, that can go because that position’s a little bit different," Marrone said. 

"It’s not like any other position where you can say, ‘Hey we’re going to give this guy some reps and he’s going to go in there. Maybe he may make it through the game, may not.’ But we have a guy in there that’s ready to go that’s been doing it. That position, because of the game planning that goes into it, that player has to get all the reps and I have to feel confident that that guy can make it through a whole game and can do everything that we’re asking him."

"What I didn’t want to do is go in there and say Gardner’s going to start and then all of sudden during the week it doesn’t look as good, he doesn’t look as healthy and then I have to make a switch at the end. I think it was just more not feel, what I feel’s best, it wasn’t any of that. I just think it was more just here’s what it is on paper, what’s the commonsense decision to make and what’s best for the team?”