Coach Doug Marrone said he isn't thinking about benching Kessler for Blake Bortles, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com reports.
The Jaguars have scored just 15 points in Kessler's two starts, hamstrung by his inability to make accurate throws downfield. Of course, Bortles was a disaster in his own right for most of the season, and it's not like Kessler got any help from his teammates during Thursday's 30-9 to Tennessee. It is possible Marrone re-evaluates the situation if things don't improve Week 15 against Washington.
Kessler committed the first turnover of his two-game starting tenure when he fumbled after a sack on the Titans' 35-yard line with 5:50 remaining in the third quarter. Otherwise, he turned in a serviceable enough stat line, but he couldn't come anywhere close to making up for the deficiencies of a surprisingly vulnerable defense. The third-year signal-caller did improve several of his numbers from his Week 13 effort against the Colts, and he showed particularly strong chemistry with Dede Westbrook, who he connected with on seven occasions for 84 yards and a touchdown. Kessler has done nothing to lose his grip on the starting job, so he'll presumably be under center again versus the Redskins in a Week 15 battle on Dec. 16.
Kessler completed 18 of 24 passes for 150 yards without a touchdown or interception and rushed five times for 28 yards in Sunday's 6-0 win over the Colts.
Kessler avoided any major mistakes and did just enough to win in a game that saw neither team find the end zone. He left to get checked for a concussion at one point, but got the all-clear to return. While the defense is largely responsible for this win, Kessler likely did enough to maintain Jacksonville's starting quarterback job for Thursday's Week 14 clash with the Titans over benched alternative Blake Bortles.
The Jaguars will blow things up after a seventh consecutive loss, benching their long-time starter at quarterback and firing offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. It isn't clear the changes represent any kind of upgrade, as Hackett played a big role in the team's success last season, while Kessler hasn't started a game since 2016 when he went 0-8 with the Browns. The 2016 third-round pick did replace Bortles in the second half of a 20-7 loss to the Texans on Oct. 21, completing 21 of 30 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Kessler is a bottom-10 quarterback option for Week 13, despite drawing a decent matchup against a Colts defense ranked 21st in opponent passer rating (97.9).
Kessler will get reps with the first-team offense in practice this week, but the Jaguars will stick with Blake Bortles as their starter for Sunday's game against the Eagles in London, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Kessler failed to impress after replacing Bortles in the third quarter of Sunday's 20-7 loss to the Texans, completing 21 of 30 passes for 156 yards with a touchdown, an interception and four sacks. The Jaguars aren't quite ready to make a change, but there's real risk of another in-game substitution if Bortles struggles during the London game. The team may also reassess the situation during a Week 9 bye.
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