JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed quarterback Ryan Nassib to the active roster, a move coach Doug Marrone said was insurance because Blake Bortles is dealing with a wrist injury.
A fourth-round draft pick by the New York Giants in 2013, Nassib was waived by New Orleans in final cuts. Nassib played three seasons (2013-15) for Jaguars decision-maker Tom Coughlin in New York and played collegiately for Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett at Syracuse.
“It’s kind of like playing Russian Roulette,” Marrone said of Bortles’ injury. “We’re trying to figure out what the best way was to get a quarterback on the roster, whether it be practice squad. We worked a couple of guys out, didn’t really feel comfortable with that and then we went back to see who was out there from a veteran standpoint, a guy that we’ve worked out before.
“Then we just decided, ‘Hey, let’s do this now, so this way, we have it just in case something happens.’”
Marrone insisted Bortles will remain the starter with Chad Henne as the backup ahead of Nassib.
Nassib has played in five NFL games, completing 9 of 10 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.
Marrone said his experience in the offense played a factor in signing with Jacksonville.
“I mean, you’d like to be able to come out and say, ‘No, it didn’t,’ but it’s hard to overcome the practice habits, the work ethic and things like that that you know,” Marrone said. “At the end of the day, we felt like we did get the best person for the team from a standpoint of what we feel is an ability to be in that position.”
Bortles has thrown for 348 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions in two games. The Jaguars (1-1) briefly benched him during the preseason. They also picked up the fifth-year option in his rookie contract, meaning they are risking having to pay Bortles $19 million in 2018 if he sustains a significant injury this season.
The Jaguars placed safety Calvin Pryor on injured reserve to create room on the roster for Nassib.
“He’s a guy that I watched grow from the beginning,” Marrone said. “Obviously, he did a hell of a job at Syracuse when I was the head coach, so I’m not going to downplay that at all.”