Jaguars hand reins to rookie QB Luton vs. Texans

In much the same way that opportunity knocked for Gardner Minshew II during his rookie campaign last season, so it knocks now for Jaguars rookie quarterback Jake Luton.Luton, a sixth-round pick out of Oregon State, will take his first professional snaps on Sunday when Jacksonville (1-6) hosts the Houston Texans (1-6) at TIAA Bank Stadium.It comes by virtue of an injury suffered by the signal-caller ahead of him on the Jacksonville depth chart.Minshew capitalized when veteran Nick Foles was lost to injury in the 2019 season opener, passing for 275 yards and two touchdowns while completing 22 of 25 attempts in a 40-26 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Minshew ultimately started 12 of 14 games as a rookie and made Foles expendable by amassing 3,271 yards and 21 touchdowns with a 91.2 rating.Now it is Minshew who is sidelined, felled by a strained ligament and multiple fractures in his right thumb.”I think playing the quarterback position you’ve got to be pretty even-keeled,” Luton said. “It’s something I pride myself in, just being composed at all times. That’s something that the team looks to and guys really respect.”I just try to approach it day in and day out as a first-year guy coming in and preparing like I’m going to play. Whether I am or not, I’m going to prepare that way so when my time comes I’ll be ready.”Jaguars coach Doug Marrone touted his decision to start Luton by lauding the 24-year-old for his professionalism. But practice reps don’t exactly mimic the action on Sundays.”Unfortunately, it’s not going to be easy for a rookie,” Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. “First game, he hasn’t taken a lot of reps with the first team. In fact, I don’t think he’s called one of our plays in the huddle since training camp so it will not be easy for him.”It’s his job to be prepared mentally and make sure he goes through the right progressions, handles himself in protections, gets the ball deep to (running back) James Robinson when he hands it off and does things right,” Gruden said. “We’ll do the best we can to make it as easy as possible for him. But it never is.”The onus is on the Texans’ 30th-ranked defense to make things difficult for Luton, something Houston has repeatedly failed at when assessing results against opposing quarterbacks.

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