The Jacksonville Jaguars are again spending this offseason licking their wounds from another campaign which saw them finish in last place in the AFC South. While Doug Marrone was retained as head coach, he certainly understands that 2020 will be important for his future with the franchise. This offseason, a flurry of reports surfaced that Marrone would be fired. The Jaguars replied by announcing that Marrone was safe, but it was clear that his time to get this franchise turned around is limited.
The most important decision Marrone and his staff will have to make this offseason concerns the quarterback position. Both Gardner Minshew and Nick Foles started multiple games this year and had both good and bad moments. One player is a second-year signal-caller who showed potential right off the bat, while the other is a veteran who the Jaguars inked to a massive contract last offseason. It really is a big decision for Jacksonville.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan looks on the bright side of this issue and says that having two "competent" quarterbacks is better than not having one.
"Frankly, this past year proved you better have two competent quarterbacks, OK?" Khan said, via the Jaguars' official website. "There were a number of teams if they didn't have a competent [backup] quarterback [in 2019], they wouldn't have made it. If you look at it, from where we've come from … an argument could be made we didn't have any competent quarterbacks, so this is in a way an embarrassment of riches for us in a good way that we do have two very good quarterbacks. I think as we move forward in this season – training camp or whatever – the coaches will have their work cut out to determine who gives us the best chance of winning as we move forward."
Foles decided to leave the Philadelphia Eagles and sign a four-year, $88 million deal with the Jaguars last offseason. He looked great on his first few plays in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, but broke his collarbone while throwing his first touchdown pass. Minshew then started the next eight games, and he threw 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions while leading the Jaguars to a 4-4 record.
Minshew wasn't perfect, but he certainly was an exciting player to watch and he led Jacksonville to a couple of close victories. When Foles was healthy enough to return, the Jaguars opted to go with him as the new starter, and Jacksonville was promptly blown out by both the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans in Weeks 11 and 12. Foles and the Jaguars were on the way to another blowout loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13, which led to his benching at halftime. Minshew then led the Jaguars to a 2-2 record to finish the season.
In all, Minshew completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions in 14 games, while Foles completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 736 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in four games.
There's no doubt that Foles and Minshew are "competent" quarterbacks, but which one are the Jaguars going to hitch their wagon to as they enter 2020? Whoever they pick, they have to be prepared to part with the other one in the near future.