Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - jaguars.com by John Oehser & Brian Sexton
JACKSONVILLE - Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton offer three quick thoughts as the Jaguars prepare to play the Cleveland Browns at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. ...
1.The quarterback "controversy" isn't much of a controversy. Gardner Minshew II or Jake Luton? Luton or Minshew? That was a major discussion point this week - and then Head Coach Doug Marrone surprised many Wednesday by announcing that Mike Glennon will start against the Browns Sunday. The Glennon decision makes sense because Marrone wanted Luton to "step back" after four interceptions against Pittsburgh last week - and because he wants to see Minshew throw for a week before starting him to show he is fully recovered from a right-thumb issue. But the reality is that this is a short-term debate at best - and one that likely has little to do with the long-term direction of the franchise. Minshew over the first seven games of the season showed flashes and had moments but didn't secure status as a long-term franchise quarterback. Luton in three games showed a powerful arm, but also didn't show himself to be a franchise quarterback. The Jaguars have six games remaining. Maybe Glennon will start them all. Maybe not. But the Jaguars likely will select a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft and that player likely will be the quarterback of the future sooner rather than later.
2.Robinson has a real chance at Offensive Rookie of the Year - at least he should. Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson, as noted by Marrone this week, has been a real bright spot this season - perhaps the Jaguars' brightest spot. He has been notable for his production and his consistency, and perhaps most notable has been that Robinson has continued to produce even against defenses stacking the line of scrimmage knowing he's the Jaguars' best option offensively. He's doing more than setting records for undrafted rookies; he's making a strong case for Offensive Rookie of the Year - and his case figures to get stronger with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow now out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. But Robinson's not just a candidate because of other players' misfortunes - and here's hoping Robinson's on-field production can overcome the Jaguars' dismal performance this season. He's a strikingly good story who has every appearance of being a productive running back for a long time - and should get serious consideration for OROY no matter the Jaguars' record.
3.The going is going to stay tough. It's not just that the Jaguars' next opponent, the Cleveland Browns, have much for which to play with a 7-3 record with six games remaining. No, the fight and grit that the Jaguars have shown in recent weeks will be tested in a big way because of the team's mounting injury issues - particularly on what had been an improving defense in recent weeks. A secondary already without starting cornerback CJ Henderson (injured reserve, groin) and Sidney Jones IV (inactive, Achilles) last week is now without nickel cornerback D.J. Hayden (knee) and safety Daniel Thomas (arm). If Jones and rookie Chris Claybrooks (core muscle) can't play Sunday, look for Tre Herndon to start at outside corner with rookies Luq Barcoo and Josiah Scott playing more than their respective 16 and four snaps last week. "If we have anyone going out there [it will be them], we have no one else," Marrone said Monday. "So, those guys will have to be able to get in there and step up." Indeed.
1.Glennon is the right move with six games to play. I don't know that Glennon, a career backup with six victories in 22 career starts, will suddenly turn things around. What he will do as an experienced veteran is to put guys in a position to play better and improve over the final six weeks of 2020. He's a big guy with a good enough arm - and he sees the field and understands the offense. He'll make sure the offense is in the right protection scheme, will check to an alternate play when he sees something from the Browns' defense and he won't be careless with the ball to put the defense in a bad spot over and over. This move is about giving the rest of the roster a chance to play at a higher level more than it is about just the quarterback position. The team's frustration isn't with the quarterback position alone, but it starts there and if they have any chance of winning between now and the end of the year Glennon is the best hope.
2.The Browns are on their 28th starting quarterback since 1999. Those Cleveland Browns drafted Tim Couch No.1 overall instead of Donovan McNabb and they chased that bad decision for two decades. Finally, they appear to have their guy in Baker Mayfield, who hasn't quite ascended to "elite" status but has his team playing well and is showing signs he has what it takes. The lesson? Don't screw up the decision at quarterback and if you do, keep swinging. The Jaguars aren't the only team to miss; every team has missed at one time or another. But if you miss twice or three times, the losing becomes more pronounced. The Jaguars missed on Byron Leftwich in 2003, then compounded the problem when they passed on Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 and Aaron Rodgers in 2005. They missed on Blaine Gabbert in 2011 and compounded it when they passed on Russell Wilson in 2012. Blake Bortles did his part to get them to the AFC Championship Game in 2017 but his contract extension followed by the decision to replace him with Nick Foles didn't solve the Jaguars' problem at the most important position. Hindsight is 2020, but it's useful information for when you're trying to get the train back on the tracks.
3.Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you and your families enjoy one of the best times of the year together with a great meal and football. I'm grateful for many things but one of them is the chance to cover NFL football in 2020 - despite the weirdness of this season, when it could very easily have been cancelled. Enjoy your day!