According to Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor, Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke is “absolutely” more than a training camp arm for the team.
The 25-year-old QB received a $5,000 signing bonus along with $216,000 in guaranteed base salary to total $221,000 USD in monetary assurances from the Jags when he signed with the team in January. Rourke is continuing to earn the respect of the coaching staff at the Miller Electric Center in Jacksonville, Fla.
“He’s done a great job in terms of growing from the spring, through the summer into training camp. He and [quarterbacks] coach [Mike] McCoy have spent a lot of time together. He’s somebody that’s going to get a lot of opportunities coming up in these preseason games that we have high hopes for leading our offence,” Taylor said.
The Jaguars travel to Dallas to open their preseason schedule on Saturday, Aug. 12, the following week take on the Lions in Detroit on Saturday, Aug. 19 and finish with the Miami Dolphins in Jacksonville on Saturday, Aug. 26.
“Throughout this training camp, we’re really evaluating the quarterbacks’ process, not as concerned with what the stats may look like and this and that because we’re not scheming our defence, we’re putting on plays. We want them to understand the process within each play and how we get through our progressions, when we may throw a ball to a certain guy at certain times,” Taylor said.
Generational talent Trevor Lawrence was selected by the Jags with the first-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and he’s entrenched as the team’s starter long-term. Veteran backup C.J. Beathard re-signed for two years, getting $2 million in guaranteed money with a maximum value of $4.5 million. Meanwhile, Rourke was given “reassurance” from the Jaguars that he would be able to compete to back up Lawrence.
“He’s done a good job,” Taylor said about Rourke. “A big thing is understanding what we’re trying to do on each play, where to go with the ball and playing on time. Certainly, the accuracy has been impressive from all those guys so far.”
Rourke had a sensational 2022 season in the CFL during which he completed 78.7 percent of his pass attempts for 3,349 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 10 games. He also ran the football 39 times for 304 yards and seven scores, becoming the first quarterback to win the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian award since 1980.
Following his breakout campaign with the B.C. Lions, the six-foot-two, 209-pound QB worked out for 12 NFL teams. McCoy, a 20-year NFL coaching veteran who briefly played for the Calgary Stampeders in 1999, put Rourke through the paces during his stop in Jacksonville this past December. Head coach Doug Pederson, a Super Bowl winner as a bench boss with the Philadelphia Eagles, was also in attendance.
The Jaguars carried three quarterbacks for all of last year and have only three passers in training camp, which could be a positive sign regarding Rourke’s chances of making the final roster.