Jaguars facing another QB decision after Luton's debacle

·3 min read

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars have another quarterback decision to make.

Coach Doug Marrone acknowledged he considered benching rookie Jake Luton in a 27-3 loss to unbeaten Pittsburgh on Sunday and switching to veteran Mike Glennon.

Luton threw four interceptions in Jacksonville’s ninth consecutive loss. It was the college journeyman’s first four-pick game since he played for Ventura College in 2016.

“This one hurts,” Luton said.

He might not get a chance to redeem himself. Glennon is waiting for a shot and second-year pro Gardner Minshew resumed throwing last week after missing two games with a sprained thumb on his right hand. No one would be surprised to see Marrone turn to either of them next week against Cleveland.

“I kind of went back and forth for a little bit,” Marrone said. “I mean, truthfully, I was thinking to myself, ’Listen, do we keep him in there? You talk about getting experience. Is that going to get experience? And then is it good enough where we are?'

“During the week we’ll evaluate it. I don’t think I’ll have answer on Monday when I get asked the question, but as the week goes, we’ll take a look at see what we can do, what’s the best thing for our team.”

Luton looked lost most of the day against the blitzing Steelers. He completed 16 of 37 passes for 151 yards, with the four picks and a few more close calls.

Jacksonville (1-9) finished with a season-low 206 yards — the team’s fewest since the 2018 finale at Houston (119) — and converted just four of 13 third downs.

Luton wasn’t the only issue. Chris Conley dropped a third-down pass early, and offensive tackles Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor were no match for speedy pass rushers Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt.

“I’m here to go through my reads and get the ball in the hands of my playmakers, and I didn’t do a good enough job of that,” Luton said. “I thought the O-line did a pretty good job, gave me enough time to get the ball out and I just didn’t execute.”

Luton played well enough to give Jacksonville chances to win his first two starts. He was a 2-point conversion away from tying Houston late two weeks ago and had a shot at upsetting Green Bay on the road last Sunday.

But he came up short both times, an indication he’s not the franchise quarterback the Jaguars have wanted and needed for decades. That’s no surprise given he was a sixth-round draft pick.

Jacksonville almost certainly will select a quarterback with its first pick in 2021, taking another shot at fixing its most flawed position. The question is whether Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell will be around to make the pick. It seems unlikely at this point.

Luton might have better odds of getting another start.

His turning point against Pittsburgh (10-0) came late in the second quarter. With Jacksonville trailing 10-3 and driving for a potential tying touchdown, former Jaguars defensive lineman Tyson Alualu tipped Luton’s pass at the line of scrimmage. Fitzpatrick picked it off at the 2 and returned it 37 yards.

Ben Roethlisberger found Diontae Johnson down the left sideline a few plays later. Johnson made a leaping, juggling, contested catch at the 1, setting up Benny Snell’s TD run.

It was potentially a 14-point swing. It was all Steelers the rest of the way.

“No matter what happens on the last play, you’ve got to play the next one,” Luton said. “Whatever happened last time, you can’t let it affect you. That’s the mindset I try to have. Unfortunately, it kept pouring into another bad play into another bad play, and I can’t let that happen. I’ve got to clear it and move it on to the next snap.”

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Mark Long, The Associated Press