Gardner Minshew making case to remain Jaguars' starting QB

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Gardner Minshew is doing his best to make a permanent claim to remain the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback when Nick Foles is cleared to return next month.

It's not just that the rookie sixth-round pick threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns in the Jaguars' 29-15 victory against the New York Jets. It’s that he continues to make plays with his legs, scrambling for first downs and to avoid pressure and find a receiver. Foles definitely has the edge in experience and accomplishments (a Super Bowl MVP) but it's that ability to elude and create that brings an extra element to the Jaguars' offense, especially on days when the run game just isn't working.

The Jaguars reached .500 with Sunday's victory (4-4) and have one more game (against Houston, in London) before the bye. The possibility of being above .500 at the break seemed remote at best the moment Foles suffered a broken collarbone in the season opener, but that was before Minshew started playing like a veteran starter. What Minshew has done since then -- 1,976 yards, 13 TDs, 2 INTs -- has to at least make the coaching staff think about keeping him on the field, especially if he plays well again next week in London.

Foles returned to practice last week and has another week of practice before the earliest that he is eligible to return to the active roster. Since the Jaguars have a bye following the Houston game, that would put Foles on track to return for the Nov. 17 game at Indianapolis -- though that timeline could get pushed back another week if the Jaguars feel Foles needs additional time.

Buy on DE Josh Allen: Minshew has made his claim to be the league's offensive Rookie of the Year and Allen has made an even more compelling argument to win the defensive honors. Allen entered Sunday's game with a team-high five sacks and added two more against the Jets (the Jags had eight total). His seven sacks are the most by a Jaguars player through their first eight career games -- and it's tied for the most by a rookie in a single season. Yannick Ngakoue had eight in 2016.

Silver lining: The Jaguars were without three linebackers because of injury -- weakside backers Quincy Williams (hamstring) and Najee Good (toe) and strongside backer Leon Jacobs (hamstring) -- and were forced to sign Donald Payne and Malcolm Smith and promote Joe Giles-Harris from the practice squad. But it was Austin Calitro, who had played just one defensive snap this season, who got the start alongside Myles Jack. Calitro had a rough first drive but settled in and played solidly, finishing with a team-high seven tackles. It's unclear which of those linebackers will be able to return next week but at least some concerns are soothed by Calitro's performance.