JACKSONVILLE – Starting at quarterback for the Jaguars …
Rookie Jake Luton.
Luton, a sixth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft from Oregon State University, will start for the Jaguars (1-6) against the Houston Texans (1-6) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone confirmed the decision on a media videoconference Monday afternoon.
"We might as well look," Marrone said. "We might as well see what we have. Go ahead and play him, and let's go."
Luton will replace second-year veteran Gardner Minshew II, who Marrone said will be inactive Sunday with a thumb injury. Minshew has thrown 13 touchdowns and five interceptions this season and is 7-12 as the Jaguars' starter over the last two seasons.
Marrone said he was told following the Jaguars' Week 7 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers that Minshew had a sore thumb. Marrone said he learned the Tuesday following that game that X-Rays were to be performed and that he learned of the extent of the injury Tuesday evening.
The Jaguars' bye week was this past week.
"The plan is to get him back to 100 percent and I see him being inactive this weekend," Marrone said of Minshew. "I don't know what the timeframe is. I really don't."
Marrone was asked if Minshew would return to the starting lineup when healthy.
"You'd like to as a coach to be able to say, 'Yeah, as soon as Gardner's ready he'll be able to come back,''' Marrone said. "But with the record where we are now, we're at 1-6, we have to see what this kid (Luton) can do. If this kid comes in and plays extremely well, then what?
"I just think it's common sense. Opportunities create themselves. If he (Luton) does well, we'll see where we're going and make that decision when the time comes."
There were reports this past week that Minshew originally sustained his injury in a Week 5 loss at Houston October 11.
"I talked to Gardner about that," Marrone said. "My emotion was at first there's a little level of frustration and accountability. When someone is injured, they obviously should report it. You go back and say, 'Did you see anything that might have given you an indication?' I talked to [quarterbacks coach] Ben McAdoo. I talked to [offensive coordinator] Jay [Gruden]. We didn't see anything.
"When Gardner came in, I just talked to him. I said, 'I can understand. One, when you're injured you need to report it; you have to report it.' I said, 'Two, it's not like I don't understand the competitiveness in you where you want to continue to play. But you've got to make smart decisions and decisions that are best for the team.'
"That was it, so I don't think I'm going to get involved – at least from my standpoint – of any disciplinary measure, but of just trying to learn and make sure the players understand that if you are injured it can hurt the team and it can hurt ourself. Even though we appreciate the competitiveness you all have that it's in your best interest to make sure you report it and this way we don't put someone out there that's not really 100 percent."
Marrone said Luton will take starter repetitions in practice this week. Veteran Mike Glennon, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Jaguars this past offseason, had been the backup in the first seven games of the season with Luton the third "inactive" quarterback.
"Both guys have to be ready; I've told both players they have to be ready," Marrone said. "But I feel like I've seen a lot of Mike; I haven't seen a lot of Jake. I'm going to go with Jake taking the reps and see how he does."
Glennon, a third-round selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2013 NFL Draft, has thrown 36 touchdowns and 20 interceptions with four previous teams in seven NFL seasons.
Luton passed for 2,714 yards and 28 touchdowns with three interceptions as a senior at Oregon State last season. With the 2020 preseason canceled because of COVID-19 concerns, Luton never has taken an NFL preseason or regular-season snap.
"We'll figure out what we're going to get," Marrone said. "I think we'll see. Everything's a risk, so why not? … We'll see how he plays against a live rush. We know how he plays without a live rush. He's done some good things. I'm sure there will be some things he wants to take back. You just hope the good plays are good and the bad things don't kill you.
"I think Jake has a high ceiling. That's my opinion of him. Not to take anything away from Mike. I have a ton of respect for him. I just want to see where this kid (Luton) is at. … I've watched him enough. Now, it's going to be when the bullets are flying."
Marrone said he expects weakside linebacker Myles Jack (ankle), tight end Tyler Eifert (neck) and safety Jarrod Wilson (hamstring) to play against the Texans Sunday. "All three are scheduled to play," Marrone said.
Marrone said he is not aware of any planned trades for the Jaguars in advance of the NFL's trade deadline Tuesday. "My focus is on the players we have here," Marrone said. "I don't know who's available, who's out there, what deals … I have no idea."