Gardner Minshew regains Jaguars starting QB job; Nick Foles going to bench
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Gardner Minshew regains Jaguars starting QB job; Nick Foles going to bench

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Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws a pass during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 in Jacksonville, Fla. Saints won 16-6.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws a pass during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 in Jacksonville, Fla. Saints won 16-6. (Gary Lloyd McCullough/For The Florida Times-Union/TNS)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is handing the starting quarterback job back to Gardner Minshew with four games remaining in the regular season.

Nick Foles, whom the Jaguars signed to a four-year, $88 million contract in March that included $50 million in guaranteed money, has been demoted to backup duty after struggling in his last three starts, all losses.

Marrone announced the quarterback switch during his Monday conference call with local media.

?Gardner is going to start for us Sunday vs. Chargers,? Marrone said. ?Obviously it was a tough deal, Nick coming back from injury and us not being able to do a good enough job around him really. So we feel with Gardner's mobility, elusiveness will give us a better chance of winning.?

Minshew went 4-4 as a starter earlier this season when he replaced Nick Foles after he suffered a broken left collarbone in the Sept. 8 opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Foles was benched Sunday against Tampa Bay after halftime and replaced by Minshew.

Foles had three turnovers - two lost fumbles and an interception - during the Jaguars' first three drives of the game.

Asked how Foles took the news of his decision, Marrone said it was brutal.

?He's a competitor and worked his a ... to come back,? Marrone said. ?He is going to do everything he can to help us win. At the same time, he's got to be ready in case of an injury or whatever it may be. He'll be a pro about this. I think he can obviously win in this league, but we've got to have help around him.?

It was clear, Foles lacked the mobility needed because of the Jaguars' struggling offensive line. And their offense was out of sorts, without much tempo, for the entire first half Sunday with Foles passing for only 93 yards that helped the Buccaneers cruise to a 25-0 halftime lead. Foles was sacked three times.

?This is not an easy game and it's a tough situation, but I'll continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving,? Foles said. ?You never want to go through it. It's difficult, but I will look at the bright things and continue to keep my head held high. Continue to keep moving forward."

According sports business website Spotrac, if the Jaguars release Foles before March 20th and designate him a post June 1st release, it would result in dead cap hits of $21.3 million in 2020 and $12.5 million in 2021.

Minshew, a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft, sparked the Jaguars in the second half with two scoring drives, which included a 3-yard touchdown pass to Dede Westbrook early in the fourth quarter.

Minshew almost led the Jaguars on another fourth-quarter TD drive, but on a third-and-goal play at the 2, Minshew's pass attempt to Westbrook in the end zone was intercepted.

Despite their 28-11 loss to Tampa Bay, Minshew completed 16-of-27 passes for 147 yards with one touchdown. It was the first game action since Nov. 3 against Houston when the Jaguars lost 26-3 in London.

We're all in this together,? Minshew said after Sunday's game. ?When he's (Foles) out on the field, I'm there with him. When I'm out on the field, he's there with me. We're all battling this together; we're all trying to figure out what we have to do to get this thing turned around."

Visit The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.) at www.jacksonville.com

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