Cody Kessler will start at quarterback Sunday against the Colts, the Jaguars announced Monday, the same day the team fired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
Kessler will replace Blake Bortles, who has led Jacksonville to seven consecutive losses. The Jaguars, who advanced to the AFC championship last postseason, won three of their first four this season, but they likely won’t be in a position for a playoff appearance.
So the organization has decided to go in a new direction to see what the future holds.
“Regarding the quarterback position, we’re going to start Cody Kessler this week against the Colts,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone told reporters Monday. “I had to chance to talk to both Blake and Cody earlier today, and I told both those guys the same thing. I’m making this change to give us an opportunity to win a football game. Cody knows the offense. He’s been in where he’s not really prepared that week, so he’ll have a full week of preparation.”
Bortles was benched in a 20-7 loss to the Texans earlier this season, but the team ultimately decided to return to him as the starter. Their trust appears to have been misplaced, and his current contract will last through 2020.
Kessler is a third-year player drafted in the third-round of the 2016 NFL Draft. A USC product, he spent two seasons with the Browns before migrating to Florida, where he’s thrown a total of 248 passes for 1,662 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Colts are piping hot, riding a three-game win streak. It’ll be a tough test for Kessler, but it will help the Jaguars decide what the best long-term move is for the franchise.