Jaguars to start sixth-round rookie QB Jake Luton in place of injured Gardner Minshew

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said rookie Jake Luton will start in place of injured quarterback Gardner Minshew on Sunday against the Houston Texans at TIAA Bank Field. 

Marrone confirmed Minshew's right thumb injury and disclosed no projected time frame for his return. Minshew will be inactive for Sunday's game, clearing the way for Luton's first career start. 

Luton, a sixth-round pick from Oregon State in the 2020 NFL draft, has been a healthy scratch for all seven games this season.

Minshew suffered multiple fractures and a strained ligament in his right thumb on his throwing hand that he initially injured during an Oct. 11 game at Houston.

However, Minshew failed to report to the team that he felt discomfort in throwing hand until after their 39-29 Week 7 loss to the Chargers. 

Marrone revealed he is not going to fine Minshew for not disclosing the injury two weeks ago, saying he doesn't think he will get involved to issue any disciplinary measure.

Marrone said he found out from the trainers and doctors that Minshew did not disclose thumb injury to remain as the starter against both the Lions and Chargers. 

''My emotion was at first, you know, there is a little level of frustration and accountability,'' Marrone said. ''When someone is injured, they obviously should report it. When Gardner came in, I just talked to him. I said I can understand, one, if you are injured, you need to report it, you have to report it.

''And I said, two, it's not like I don't understand the competitiveness in you where you want to continue to play. But I told him you have to make smart decisions — and decisions that what's best for the team.''

It is rare for a starting quarterback to have an injury on his throwing hand that wouldn't be detected by the training or coaching staff. Marrone said he spoke with both quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to see if they had seen anything that would have given them the indication Minshew was playing hurt. Marrone said both coaches indicated to him they didn't see anything.  

Minshew completed a season-low 51%of his passes against the Chargers. In the previous two games before last week, he had completed only 60% passes over the past two games.

Minshew has been indecisive in the pocket, occasionally scrambling too soon before the pass rush converges and forcing up errant throws after throwing off his back foot. After seven games, Minshew has been sacked 22 times, tied for the third-most in the NFL.  He has thrown for 1,855 yards,13 touchdowns. and five interceptions with a quarterback rating of 94.4.

Luton will become the third rookie quarterback to start in Jaguars' franchise history. In 1998, Jonathan Quinn went 1-1 during the 1998 season after filling in for injured starter Mark Brunell. Last year, Minshew started in place of injured Nick Foles.

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Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Jake Luton (6) passes the ball during training camp at Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. (Photo: Douglas DeFelice, USA TODAY Sports)

Minshew had started 11 consecutive games dating to last season, when he regained the job from an ineffective Foles during Week 14 against the Chargers. 

But this week, Luton is expected to get the majority of the team's first-team reps in practice ahead of veteran backup Mike Glennon, who was listed last week as the No. 2 quarterback behind Minshew.

Coming off their bye week, the Jaguars are 1-6 and have lost six consecutive games.

Luton performed well in training camp in August, showing the ability to drive the ball downfield because of superb arm strength. But he hasn't faced a live rush like he's going to see against the Texans. 

''Not take anything from Mike, I have a ton of respect for him, but I just want to see where this kid [Luton] is at,'' Marrone said. ''We might as well look to see what we have.''   

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