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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars have to stick with Gardner Minshew

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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Forget about the cute promotional mustaches being passed out to the fans. Forget about the guaranteed money the Jaguar put in front of Nick Foles back in March. Right now, the team has won four times in six games, it’s in the playoff conversation and it’s in large part because of rookie QB, Gardner Minshew.

And whether or not Foles is healthy enough to return either in London Sunday against the Texans or after the Jaguars bye week, it’s obvious what coach Doug Marrone and the organization should do.

Or should we say, not do.

Nothing.

They can’t take Minshew out at this point.

Sunday’s latest display about what the former Washington State QB brings to the current 2019 version of the Jags showed you all that you need to know. He has accuracy- completing 22 of 34 passes for another 279 yards and three more scores Sunday. He has poise, as he is staying away from turnovers unlike Jets 2nd year QB Sam Darnold. Darnold threw three picks Sunday and basically undid his team’s chances to win.

And most of all, look at the way his teammates respond to Minshew. Celebrations after TDs, the engagement with his teammates on the sideline, everything that Minshew projects is leadership and winning.

So, why would you want to mess with that in the short term?

Yes, Foles was given the largest guaranteed contract ever for a Jags quarterback back during free agency, but he was hurt right away in the first quarter of game one. And his time may still come at some point in this season, if Minshew starts to falter or worse, suffers an injury, himself.

However, the results are the results and the Jaguars are winning.

Yes, some of it is the power running of Leonard Fournette mixed with a solid defense that is back wreaking havoc on quarterbacks with pressure and sacks.

But,” news flash” – that’s the way they were going to win with Nick Foles in at QB, as well.

Further, Foles has been used to this situation the last couple of years in Philadelphia, where he was waiting for his opportunity as a backup. And, eventually, it came when Carson Wentz was injured at the end of each of the last two years. So, this is familiar territory for the veteran.

Again, Minshew could still falter and no one would blame Marrone and the team at that point for putting Foles back in.

However, if you take the rookie out, now and Foles is bad? Then, you’ve got everyone rightfully ripping you for messing with success.

There’s a great Axiom in present-day sports about free agency and trades: “Sometimes the best move is the one that you don’t make.”

For now, the Jaguars would be wise to heed that.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars welcomed back Foles but poor play still there

Florida Football Insiders

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday was supposed to be a game for a new start for the Jaguars. Off a terrible performance in London against the Texans two weeks ago, the Jaguars were also welcoming back a free agent quarterback that was supposed to be a difference-maker in their offense. Unfortunately, when it was over in Indianapolis, not much changed as the Colts easily dispatched Jacksonville 33-13.

Things started off well enough with Nick Foles leading a quick touchdown drive on Jacksonville’s opening possession. In fact Foles even picked up where he left off in his first game. In the opener against Kansas City he threw a touchdown pass to D.J. Chark on the play where he also fractured his collar bone.

Well, on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, his next touchdown of the season was also to Chark, who caught a pass over the middle, raced 34 yards for a score and a 7-0 lead:

However, the Colts demonstrated that it’s not just the start of the game. Rather, it’s everything that happens from then on. And from then on, they really dominated Jacksonville.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was back after missing last week’s loss to the Dolphins with a sprained knee and was solid throwing for one TD and rushing for another TD. Former USF running back Marlon Mack had 109 yards rushing and a touchdown before leaving the game with an injured hand. And, the Indy defense showed themselves to be stingy, again. This after they have already stifled the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan and Deshaun Watson.

Leonard Fournette never got going on the ground for Jacksonville finishing with just 23 yards on eight carries. And, after the initial touchdown, the Jags either punted, Foles threw his pick or they lost the ball on downs on their next eight possessions.

Foles couldn’t muster much, as Jacksonville fell further and further behind. He did get a very late touchdown in the final minute, again to Chark to pad his stats, which finished 33-47, 296 yds. and the 2 TDs with 1 INT.

The outcome is most disappointing for Jaguar fans who wanted to see their team climb back into the race for the wild card and maybe the division. However, this is now two decisive losses to division foes making even their biggest fans wonder if the season isn’t headed south. Jacksonville must turn it around, when they are back on the road next week against the Tennessee Titans.

To be fair, it was only Foles first full game back and he should be given at least another week or two before we start judging how effective he can be.

The problem is at 4-6, Jacksonville can’t afford many more losses to stay in the hunt.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Return of Jaguars QB Foles leads our Sunday primer

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

All three state teams are in action on Sunday with the Bucs and Dolphins hosting divisional opponents at home and the Jaguars and the key AFC South  match up on the road.

Let’s start with the Jaguars, who will welcome back prize free agent quarterback Nick Foles (above) for the first time in 10 weeks. This after Foles suffered a left broken collarbone in the first quarter of his first game with Jacksonville in Week one against Kansas City.

Foles comes back to a situation where a rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew helped the Jaguars win four games in his absence and have the Jaguars at least in contention in the AFC South. Jacksonville must get running back Leonard Fournette back on track, as when last we saw him, he registered only 40 yards rushing in the 26 – 3 loss to the Texans in London two weeks ago.

The Colts will welcome back quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who missed last week’s loss at home to the lowly Dolphins do to a sprained knee. Brissett has been a pleasant surprise since taking over on the eve of the season for the abruptly retired Andrew Luck.

This is the first of two meetings on the year for Jacksonville and Indy, as they will play at TIAA Bank Field to end the season week 17.

Meanwhile, in Tampa, the Buccaneers host the first place New Orleans Saints in an NFC South matchup. The Bucs won dramatically over Arizona last, week when Jameis Winston led the game-winning Drive of 92 yards in the final 3 minutes for a 30 – 27 win. Winston is still under scrutiny after throwing two more interceptions a week ago and has 14 on the year to lead the NFL.

The Saints were humbled at home by a 1-7 Atlanta team last week. Not only did the Falcons defeat them, but their defense held Drew Brees and Co. to just nine points; the lowest output since he became the Saints starting quarterback 14 seasons ago.

The Buccaneers secondary is in flux after they released former number 1 pick, Vernon Hargreaves, earlier this week for lack of hustle and productivity under first-year coordinator Todd Bowles’ new defense. Tampa Bay will go with rookies Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean. And, the Bucs better be ready for the best pass-catching receiver in the NFL, Michael Thomas.

As for the Dolphins, we did not think we would write the sentence: they have a chance for a three-game win streak, especially after an 0-7 horrendous start. However, that’s exactly what’s at stake as they play longtime AFC East rival Buffalo at Hard Rock Stadium.

Solid play by veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, timely defense by Miami and some clutch field goal kicking from Jason Sanders last week has enabled Miami to perk up and win their last two games. Sanders kicked three field goals and was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in the 16 – 12 win over the Colts a week ago.

Buffalo started the year 6 – 2 but played poorly in the second half of last week’s loss to the Browns. Second-year quarterback Josh Allen will try to get them back on the winning track this week. The Bill’s already own a victory last month in Western New York over the Fins.

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