The preseason hype surrounding Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles ended quickly, when he broke his left clavicle in the first quarter of the opener Sunday with K.C., keeping him out indefinitely. Duval is wasting no time though…rallying behind rookie QB Gardner Minshew II. Partly because of his game, and partly because of his mustache.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 9, 2019
Minshew is expected to start at quarterback this Sunday against the Houston Texans. He played the final three quarters of a season-opening loss and had a solid, and at times outstanding, day, completing 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Minshew also played extensively in the preseason to get live reps.
The a sixth-round selection from Washington State spoke to the media on Wednesday about how he plans to enter into his new leadership role.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 11, 2019
“I learned a lot of things going to different schools and learned the right way to step in a try to lead and that’s going in and earning respect and not demanding respect.”
Similarly to how he stepped into his QB1 role, Minshew’s path into the NFL has been anything but traditional. He began his college football career in 2015 at Northwest Mississippi Community College and led his team to a NJCAA National Football Championship, passing for 3,228 yards with a 60.8% completion percentage.
Minshew then transferred to East Carolina University in 2016 where he played in seven games while starting two at QB for the Pirates. With one remaining year of eligibility he seriously considered becoming a third string QB at Alabama behind Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, primarily to begin a foundation for an eventual coaching career.
However, Minshew decided to enroll as a graduate student at Washington State after receiving a phone call from Washington State head coach Mike Leach who asked him, “Do you want to be a backup at Alabama, or lead the nation in passing?” Last season he did in fact lead the nation in passing averaging 367.6 yards per game. Minshew was then selected by the Jaguars in the sixth round, 178th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.
While his impressive performance last Sunday landed him the starting spot for this weekend in Houston, he won’t be without any competition until Foles’ return. On Monday the team did a deal with the Steelers for backup QB, Joshua Dobbs.
Dobbs is a former 4th round pick in the 2017 draft by the Steelers out of the University of Tennessee. He did not play in a game in his rookie season and in 2018 saw limited action primarily in mop-up duty of five games throwing only 12 total passes for 43 yards and an interception.
While the Jags won’t be without any hope on offense, it’s clear they’ll be trying to piece together the next few weeks until Foles is back. It’s going to take others, like RB Leonard Fournette, to step up and carry more of the load in the short term, if the Jags are going to have any playoff chance at the end of the season.
Jaguars taking strange risk with playing Jalen Ramsey Thursday
As the Jaguars get set to try to win their first game of the season on Thursday night against rival Tennessee, the dominant story line will be about DB Jalen Ramsey and his status with the team. Further and most importantly, if the team does indeed intend to trade him as soon as Friday, why is he even playing in the game?
As for that, we wrote yesterday that Ramsey is still on the Jaguars roster and expected to not only be active, but start in tonight’s game. This despite numerous reports since Sunday, that he wants to be traded, and the team is actively shopping him to the first takeer that will give them at least one number one pick in return.
Importantly, the front office has not denied that they’re trying to move the disgruntled former Pro Bowl corner, you can only take that to mean: they are trying to pull off a trade.
So it raises the very valid dilemma of: playing arguably your best player in the third game of the year, but also the realistic possibility that Ramsey could somehow hurt himself in the game. And while a serious injury isn’t likely, something slight like a groin or hamstring injury could come from playing in this game.
Another very valid point is that if the Jaguars could not make a trade in the last 48 hours or so for Ramsey, are they really going to get more value by trading him Friday, this weekend or next Monday?
So, here we go with the team taking what appears to be an unnecessary risk with a player who obviously privately has made it clear he wants out of North Florida.
Of course the other possible part of this is; the VP of football Tom Coughlin is willing to “play poker,” for now, with the other teams in the league that are pursuing Ramsey and might even wait another week or two before pulling the trigger.
After all the Jaguars have until October trading deadline to find the best deal possible.
However, the argument against that is that Ramsey could become a bigger distraction than what he already has and cause more problems than he already has behind the scenes for the team.
It certainly is a dilemma.
And it’s one that will play out Thursday on National TV, if and when Ramsey is out there running around, while the team is trying to deal him somewhere else, maybe as soon as the weekend.
Jaguars coach Marrone confirms Jalen Ramsey will play Thursday
Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey told the media on Tuesday that, as long as he was going to be with the Jaguars he was going to give it his all. And, that will now include the Thursday night game with the Tennessee Titans.
After speculation that Ramsey might be traded prior to the showdown with the Titans at TIAA Bank Field, Ramsey not only participated in the Wednesday walk through practice with his teammates, but coach Doug Marrone announced after practice that he will be playing in the game Thursday night:
Coach Doug Marrone said that Jalen Ramsey will be suited up tomorrow. Says “Jalen and I have always had a good open relationship… we sat down yesterday and talked about what went on with him and I… that’s behind us right now…” Says Jalen is focused on playing tomorrow.
— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) September 18, 2019
So, Ramsey will at least be with the Jaguars for a few more days. Speculation continues to run rampant that Jacksonville will complete a trade for Ramsey maybe, as soon as Friday after the game.
Earlier the day ESPN Jaguars reporter Mike DiRocco reported that because Ramsey was on the Jaguars roster still at the end of business on Tuesday (or 48 hours before game time) that Jacksonville would still be obligated to pay him for this week
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport also says the Jaguars are holding firm in their belief that they can get two future number one picks in exchange for Ramsey.
However, that would be highly unlikely, as most teams know the Jacksonville is looking to rid themselves of the defensive back. And, Miami trading number one pick Minkah Fitzpatrick earlier in the week for a single number one pick with a swap of other mid round draft picks this year and next year, seems to have set the market.
This is particularly because, Fitzpatrick is still relatively inexpensive for the rest of this season and the next two years. However, Ramsey in the final year of his deal and if the team trading for him assumes his fifth year option his price tag, it will Skyrocket to a $13.7 million salary next year.
There is a further complication that Ramsey might reject wanting to sign a long-term deal with that team that acquires him and therefore, he essentially becomes a rental player for the remainder of this year.
Marrone further said that he spoke to Ramsey after his Tuesday news conference and team practice and they they were ready to go with Thursday’s game. The Jags are 0-2 and already in a “must win” mode for the NFC South early.
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