In 1995 the Jacksonville Jaguars joined the Carolina Panthers as the NFL’s two newest franchises. It was the league’s first expansion in twenty years. There have been plenty of peaks and valleys since the team entered the NFL. The Jags have yet to capture a conference title and reach the Super Bowl, but have been playoff participants on six different occasions.
In the team’s history there have been sixteen different starting quarterbacks. Some of them were good, most of them were bad, none of them were great. Several of the names on our list started just a single game under center for the Jaguars in their careers. It has to be noted though, many other new franchises went through growing pains that were significantly more difficult than the Jaguars. Their road to competitiveness in the AFC was much shorter than some other teams.
So here they are. Bottom to top, all sixteen starting quarterbacks in Jacksonville Jaguars history. You’re sure to learn a few names that you didn’t know before. No-names, NFL journeymen, and a couple of guys that carved out some very nice careers in the league. Spoiler alert, you’re not going to come across any Hall of Fame candidates.
16. Jonathan Quinn
Well, I suppose someone has to be at the bottom.
When you consider that Jonathan Quinn played his college ball at Tulane and Middle Tennessee State, there is something to be appreciated about the NFL career he cobbled together.
In total he’d play in the NFL for 17 games, 11 of those with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Three starts, three touchdowns, four interceptions, 748 yards and a single Jaguars victory is what he can put on his resume.
At the conclusion of the 2001 season, Jacksonville elected to part ways with Quinn. He caught on with the Kansas City Chiefs, but never threw a pass, and then found a job with the Chicago Bears. After five games and three starts, Quinn’s time in the NFL came to a close in 2004 at the age of 29.
15. Steve Matthews
Steve Matthews started one game for Jacksonville in his very brief NFL career. So I suppose he’s being rewarded on this list for not remaining in the league long enough to play as poorly as Quinn.
Matthews was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 7th round of the 1994 NFL Draft. He was with the team for three seasons, never took a snap, and signed as a free agent with Jacksonville in 1997.
That one glorious start for the Jaguars came on September 7, 1997 against the New York Giants. Matthews completed 23 of 35 passes for 252 yards and did not throw an interception in a 40-13 Jaguars victory. He threw three more passes the next season with the Tennessee Titans before he called it a career.
14. Luke McCown
Unlike the first two names on this list, Luke McCown has plenty of NFL experience under his belt. He has spent eleven seasons in the league, primarily as a backup, including three with the Jaguars.
It wouldn’t be until his third season in Jacksonville that McCown got the opportunity to start. It happened twice in 2011. In the first he completed 17 of 24 passes for 175 yards in a 16-14 win over the Titans. In the second he connected on just 6 of 19 pass attempts and was picked off four times in a 32-3 dismantling against the Jets. At the time McCown produced the lowest passer rating in Jaguars history (1.8).
13. Trent Edwards
If you blinked in 2010 you might have missed the time Trent Edwards spent with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags picked him up off of waivers in September of that year and his career in Jacksonville including an entire three games.
He started one of those, a 34-17 loss to the Houston Texas. In total Edwards threw for 280 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions while with the Jaguars. Jacksonville did not retain his services after the season concluded.
Edwards had a couple of stops left in his career before retirement. He was unable to catch on with the Chicago Bears or Oakland Raiders. He threw two passes, completing both, for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012 before retiring with just over 6,000 career passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions.
12. Todd Bouman
Technically Todd Bouman signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, get ready for this, six different times. First he was acquired by the Jaguars to serve as a backup to Quinn Gray. Later in his career Jacksonville signed the veteran as a safety net following injuries to several different Jacksonville signal callers.
In that time Bouman made just one start for the Jags. In 2010, at 38 years-old, Bouman was under center as Jacksonville was blitzed by the Kansas City Chiefs 42-20. He completed 18 of his 34 passes, and threw two touchdowns along with two interceptions.
That would be the last game Bouman would play in the NFL. For his career he started seven games, winning just one, and threw for 1,905 yards, 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with four different teams.
11. Jamie Martin
Jamie Martin has something in common with other names on this list. He started a single football game for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Unfortunately Martin did not have enough of an opportunity to show Jacksonville he was a viable, long-term solution at quarterback moving forward. Believe it or not, he was impressive. A week before his first start, the Jaguars beat the Detroit Lions 37-22 in a game where Martin threw for 222 yards, a pair of scores, and was not picked off. Hopes were dashed a week later when Martin tore his ACL against Tennessee after throwing 11 passes.
10. Quinn Gray
Quinn Gray never played well enough to be a regular starter, or a regular back up for that matter, but he hung around in Jacksonville for three seasons. In his final season with the Jaguars he logged four starts.
He played pretty well in those four starts, leading the Jaguars to a 2-2 record. His most impressive performance was in the final game of the season. Gray completed 25 of 39 passes and threw for 302 yards and 4 touchdowns in a loss to the Texans.
He’d become a free agent at the end of the season, and Jacksonville elected not to resign him. After the Kansas City Chiefs lost a pair of quarterbacks in 2008, they signed Gray for the remainder of the season. He appeared in eight games, the last NFL action he would see.
9. Blaine Gabbert
Here’s a name everyone knows. Blaine Gabbert is on the short list of most starts in Jacksonville Jaguars history. Unfortunately he’s also on the short list of career wins with the franchise.
The Jags certainly invested heavily in Gabbert when they drafted him out of Missouri with the 10th pick in 2011. He started as a rookie, and suffered through two ugly seasons before Jacksonville benched him three games into his third year.
San Francisco signed Gabbert and he again had the opportunity to start. He made it five games into last season before the 49ers benched him for Colin Kaepernick. It’s uncertain how long Gabbert will remain in the league, but it appears his time may be running short. His .185 winning percentage in Jacksonville is the lowest among quarterbacks with at least 28 starts.
8. Jay Fiedler
Back to the one-and-dones. Jay Fiedler spent just one year in Jacksonville before departing for Miami where he would spend the bulk of his eight year NFL career.
Fiedler’s time as a Jaguar included appearances in seven games and just a single start. It was a good one. He led the Jags to a 24-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Fiedler threw for 317 yards, the third highest total in his NFL career, and a touchdown in the win.
If Jacksonville could foresee what Fiedler would end up doing in Miami, they may have tried just a little harder to hold onto the quarterback out of Dartmouth. In five seasons with the Dolphins Fiedler led the team to three 10+ win seasons, two 11+ win seasons, and an AFC East title.
7. Chad Henne
Chad Henne also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins, he just did it in the opposite order of Jay Fiedler. Henne found a home in Jacksonville after four underwhelming seasons under center for the Dolphins.
Any doubt that Henne would be unable to develop into a quality starting quarterback during his time in Miami was completely removed during his time with the Jaguars. Two seasons worth of starts produced more interceptions than touchdowns and Henne was unable to hold on to the starting job. By the season opener of year three, Henne had been benched for backup Blake Bortles.
6. Rob Johnson
Again, I’m ranking someone on this list based solely on the fact that they did not screw up where so many others did. Rob Johnson didn’t put up a lot of stats in Jacksonville, good or bad.
Johnson got one start with the Jaguars in 1997, his third year in the league. He got his shot thanks to Mark Brunell needing more time to recover from injury. It was a successful debut. Johnson led the Jags to a 28-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. He threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns, adding another score on the ground.
Brunell got his job back, but Johnson would get a starting job himself. Jacksonville traded him to the Buffalo Bills in 1998, getting a first and fourth round draft pick in return. Johnson would spend four seasons with the Bills, before bouncing to Tampa Bay, Washington, and Oakland. His comeback attempts from 2006-2008 proved unsuccessful.
5. Steve Beuerlein
Being the fifth best quarterback in Jacksonville Jaguars history may not be a very impressive distinction. Steve Beuerlein however does have something on his resume that no other player can claim. He is the first draft pick in the history of the franchise.
Jacksonville selected Beuerlein number one overall in the 1995 expansion draft. He was 30 at that point, a veteran of six NFL seasons with three different teams. In the season before joining the Jaguars, Beuerlein suffered through a difficult year with the Arizona Cardinals that included head coach Buddy Ryan calling him, “one of the worst quarterbacks he had ever seen.”
Beuerlein burned out in Jacksonville quick. He played two games with the Jags before an MCL injury sidelined him for two weeks. That’s all Mark Brunell needed to claim the starting job. Brunell went down with injury in week twelve and Beuerlein was again named the starter. He lost four straight and butted heads with Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin. He finished the season third on the depth chart behind Rob Johnson. He signed with the Carolina Panthers in the offseason.
4. Byron Leftwich
Were it not for injuries, today Byron Leftwich could be the greatest quarterback in Jacksonville Jaguars history. As it is, let’s appreciate that he is one of the few signal callers than can claim to have a winning record with the franchise.
His rookie season was rough. Leftwich led the Jaguars to a 5-8 record in his 13 starts and threw more INTs than TDs. The next year was considerably better. He started 14 games and Jacksonville finished 8-6 in games he was under center. His third year was even more impressive. In his 11 starts, the team went 8-3 and Leftwich threw three times as many touchdowns as picks.
His fourth season in Jacksonville is when things began to come to an end. Leftwich started six games, guiding the team to a 3-3 mark before ankle surgery ended his year. After the season, head coach Jack Del Rio stated that Leftwich would be the Jaguars QB the following year. September 1st he cut him. While with Jacksonville Leftwich threw for over 9,000 yards, 51 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions.
3. Blake Bortles
Well we’ve made it up to Jacksonville’s present-day quarterback. I suppose it bodes well for the future that Blake Bortles ranks third on our list of greatest Jaguars QBs of all time.
He has three seasons under his belt, and suffice it to say he hasn’t done a lot of winning. Bortles has started 34 games in a Jacksonville uniform and he’s won 11 of them. Who knows how long of a leash Jaguars management has him on, but he’s getting better, if only incrementally.
Bortles is getting smarter and more patient. Through three seasons he’s thrown for over 11,000 yards, 69 touchdowns, and 51 interceptions. Perhaps most importantly, he was only sacked 34 times last season. That’s down from 51 the prior season, and 55 the year before that. That said, there are still many out there that are displeased with the progress Bortles has shown. Patience, Jaguars fans.
2. David Garrard
David Garrard played nine seasons in the NFL and started 79 games. By any measure a career of that length deserves a tip of the cap. What makes the feat more impressive however, is that he played all of those games with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Garrard wasn’t a regular starter until 2006, after he had been with the Jaguars for four seasons. When he was appointed the number one quarterback in Jacksonville, he was good and only got better. His best season was in 2007 when he led the Jaguars to a Wild Card victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers before falling to the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round.
Garrard threw for 16,003 yards in his NFL career. He tossed 89 touchdowns against 54 interceptions and scored 17 times on the ground. His 39 wins with the Jaguars is the second most in franchise history.
1. Mark Brunell
That brings us to the guy with the most wins in franchise history. Mark Brunell is the greatest quarterback to pull on a Jacksonville Jaguars jersey, and it’s not particularly close.
Brunell got the QB job in 1995 and was the Jags top signal caller for eight seasons. Most team passing records have Brunell’s name attached to them. While with the team he threw for nearly 26,000 yards and 144 touchdowns. He won 63 games for Jacksonville including 13 in the Jaguars 14-2 effort in 1999.
After Jacksonville Brunell made stops in Washington, New Orleans, and with the New York Jets. His 17 year NFL career came to a close in 2011. Brunell won a Super Bowl ring with the New Orleans Saints as a backup to Drew Brees in 2009.
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