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Training Camp 2020: Luton "a pleasant surprise"

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Jake Luton (6) and quarterback Gardner Minshew II (15) perform a drill during an NFL football workout, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Logan Bowles via AP)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Jake Luton (6) and quarterback Gardner Minshew II (15) perform a drill during an NFL football workout, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Logan Bowles via AP)

JACKSONVILLE – The kid has been impressive.

What that means for the Jaguars at quarterback behind starter Gardner Minshew II coming out of 2020 Training Camp remains to be seen, but make no mistake:

Rookie Jake Luton has played well in recent weeks – perhaps better than expected.

"Jake has been very impressive since the minute he walked into the building," Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said during a videoconference with media Friday.

Gruden praised Luton's "knowledge of the offense, his ability to learn, his ability to throw the ball down the field, short passes with touch…"

"That's been the biggest pleasant surprise, I would say – is his ability to come in here and learn," Gruden said. "He plays with great poise and confidence for a young player. We've put him in the No. 1 huddle a couple of times, and he has shown no signs of being intimidated. He fits right in there. …

"He has great accuracy. He has great arm strength. We've been very impressed with him."

Luton (6-feet-6, 224 pounds), who threw 28 touchdowns and three interceptions as a senior at Oregon State last season, has worked behind Minshew during camp along with veterans Mike Glennon and Josh Dobbs. Gruden on Saturday said while the decision is up to Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell, he favors carrying three quarterbacks.

The Jaguars entered last season with two quarterbacks: then-starter Nick Foles and Minshew, trading a fifth-round selection to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Dobbs following Foles' Week 1 injury that kept him out eight games.

"If I have my way, I definitely want to keep three with all the things going on in the world today," Gruden said. "With the Coronavirus you never know what's going to happen. You've got to have three guys in the building, I would think, who know the position and know the offense and know the terminology."

Luton entered the NFL as a sixth-round selection in the 2020 Draft. Minshew, a sixth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, spoke highly of Luton Friday.

"Jake's been awesome," Minshew said. "He's got about everything people look for in a quarterback. He's tall. He throws an accurate ball. He has a big arm. He's really smart. He learned the offense very fast. He really hadn't needed much help there.

"We're a pretty young quarterback group. It's fun to kind of all learn as we go. We're all kind of talking through things. It really makes it a fun quarterback room."

Also Friday:

*Gruden lauded third-year wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., who has been perhaps the Jaguars' best offensive player during camp after a Pro Bowl season last season. "He's still a young player and he's doing some great things," Gruden said. "He can attack defenses a lot of different ways and a lot of different positions, which is good." Gruden said while Chark typically plays outside, the Jaguars also have lined him up inside during camp. "He's just a good all-around player, but he's also excellent to coach because he knows he has work to do and he wants to be great," Gruden said. "It's one thing being a talented player with speed and size and have great hands, but it's another to want to come out early and work hard and really dominate the offense from a mental standpoint. … Trying to find a weakness with DJ, it's going to be hard for me to find one." Minshew said Chark is clearly playing with confidence in camp. "He's running really good routes right now, too," Minshew said. "That kind of goes hand in hand with his confidence. He has a lot of belief in himself and I have a lot of belief in him. We want that to be anytime he's one on one he can get the ball." …

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