JACKSONVILLE – Ryan Nassib because the Jaguars need a third quarterback.
Head Coach Doug Marrone made that clear on Monday when speaking to the media shortly after the Jaguars signed the fifth-year veteran as a free agent.
Nassib, who has thrown 10 NFL passes, signed with the Jaguars a day after starting quarterback Blake Bortles struggled statistically through the first three quarters of a one-sided loss to the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field.
"We've got to make sure we're doing what's best for the team," Marrone said Monday.
Marrone said the Jaguars needed a third quarterback for practice, and to be available in case of injuries to Bortles and backup Chad Henne. Marrone on Monday specified that the Jaguars' quarterback depth chart remained Bortles as the starter followed by Henne and Nassib.
Bortles has been on the injury report with a right wrist injury each of the first two weeks of the regular season. Henne was the only other quarterback on the roster until Nassib signed Monday.
Marrone said the Jaguars worked out "a couple" of quarterbacks who were practice-squad eligible last week.
"It's kind of like playing Russian Roulette," Marrone said. "We were trying to figure the best way to get a quarterback on the roster, whether it be on the practice squad or to see who was out there from a veteran standpoint.
"It's one of the positions you go back and forth on with roster spots. Do you keep three quarterbacks? Do you keep two? Do you have enough arms? Training camp? What do you want to do? With our quarterback being on the injury list, and we expect him to continue to be on this injury list, we've just got to make sure we're doing what's best for the team because if something happens and he's injured, then Chad [Henne] is going in. What other options do we have in a short period of time?"
Bortles has completed 31 of 55 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions this season. He completed 20 of 34 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions Sunday, including 9-of-9 passing for 134 yards and a touchdown in a fourth quarter that began with the Titans leading 23-3.
Marrone said the Jaguars also had worked out Nassib recently.
"We just decided, 'Let's do this now; that way we have it just in case something happens,''' Marrone said. "We're just trying to make the best move to put our team in the best position in case these situations came up where we have problems. That's the only way I've thought about it."
Nassib (6-feet-2, 223 pounds), originally a fourth-round selection by the New York Giants in the 2013 NFL Draft, has appeared in five NFL games and has completed nine of 10 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown.
Nassib played for the Giants from 2013-2015 while Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin was head coach there. The Giants released Nassib this past offseason. He signed with the New Orleans Saints in June, but was released on September 2.
"At the end of the day, we felt like we did get the best person for the team from a standpoint of what we feel is an ability to be in that position," Marrone said.
Nassib played four seasons (2009-2012) at Syracuse while Marrone was the head coach at the school. Current Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett served as the Syracuse quarterbacks/passing game/tight ends coach in 2010 and as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks/tight ends coach in 2011 and 2012.
Nassib set Syracuse school records in 2012 for total offense (6,188 yards), yards per game (476.0), passing yards (3,757), touchdown passes (26), completions (295) and first downs (328).
"He's a guy I watched grow from the beginning when we used to give him some things to really come on and break a lot of records and do very well," Marrone said. "He did a hell of a job at Syracuse when I was the coach. I'm not going to downplay that at all.
"What happened wherever else he's been, I don't know."