Thursday Night Football saw the Jacksonville Jaguars defeat the Tennessee Titans 20-7. It was a sloppy game for the Titans, but it was the Jags’ first victory of the season. Before that, they suffered a one-point loss to the Houston Texans in Week 2 and a 14-point loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1. So what’s the outlook on the season for Jacksonville? More specifically, what’s going on with the position of quarterback and the impending trade of Jalen Ramsey? Here’s a look at the Jaguars’ current issues this season.
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What’s Up at Quarterback?
Blake Bortles is out, and Nick Foles of Philadelphia Eagles stardom has made his way to Jacksonville to take on the role of QB. The Jags made him a priority in the offseason, but now he’s out with a broken collarbone that he sustained in Week 1 against the Chiefs. (He’s hoping to be back by mid-November.) Meanwhile, he’s been replaced at quarterback by a sixth-round pick who was probably never meant to be anything more than a backup…
So who the heck is Gardner Minshew? This lightly recruited QB who went to multiple colleges and almost quit football altogether has turned into a potential savior for the Jaguars. He’s got accuracy, personality, potential, and now folks are saying he could be a franchise quarterback. And Minshew has been handling the pressure of this responsibility surprisingly well. The 23-year-old has arm strength (but nothing crazy), he’s goofy, he’s poised, and his former coaches call him “fearless.” According to the man himself, “A lot of people never thought I would get this opportunity, so now that I do have it, I make the most of it.”
On Thursday, the Jags barely ran the ball until the fourth quarter, so Minshew took on a big workload – and he delivered. He threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns (to DJ Chark and James O’Shaughnessy), completing 20 of 30 passes with no interceptions. Over three games, his pass completion was 74%, the highest of any QB in their first three career games since 1970. Good sign, right?
Minshew’s timing, accuracy, and ball placement so far has been impressive. (The Jags’ rookie is also really into awesome outfits.) And people love him #GardnerMinshewMania. Could he really become their full-time starter for the rest of the season? TBD on what happens when Foles is healthy…
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What About Jalen Ramsey?
The Jags’ defense was great in that game against the Titans too, sacking Marcus Mariota nine times and forcing a fumble. With the upcoming potential trade of Jalen Ramsey, however, folks are wondering how much their defense will suffer. After all, he is arguably the best player on their defense. (Calais Campbell is stiff competition, but we digress.)
Last Monday, the All-Pro cornerback made a public trade request. It could land him a huge contract with another team, but the thing is, Jaguars owner Shad Khan “loves” Ramsey. So much, in fact, that he might be willing to offer the 25-year-old a new contract that could make him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. Khan reportedly wants to exhaust all options before trading away the star player. But will Ramsey accept? Word is that he wants out of Jacksonville.
Ramsey had a sideline argument with head coach Doug Marrone on Sunday, but he’s previously said that his issues stem from the Jaguars’ front office. Their VP of football operations criticized him for not attending voluntary practices, but that might not be it either. Ramsey himself said that it’s not the city or his teammates but rather, “Some disrespectful things were said on their end that made me definitely walk out and call my agent as soon as I walked out. I said, ‘It’s time. My time is up here in Jacksonville.’”
Of course, it wouldn’t be all bad for the Jags if they had to trade him. In return for Ramsey, they’re supposedly seeking the equivalent of two first-round picks, whether that be players or picks or a mix of both. Literally every team in the NFL has made contact with the Jaguars about Ramsey. Word is that the Chiefs, Ravens, Vikings, Raiders, Eagles, and Seahawks are the most interested.
Ramsey has previously mentioned in a podcast that, outside of Jacksonville, he’d like to play in Nashville or Las Vegas (after the Raiders move).
The Jaguars will take on the Broncos in Week 4 in Denver… with our without Ramsey. Get tickets to see that matchup.
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