New Jaguars QB Kyle Sloter embraces underdog role

After starring with USFL’s Breakers, he signed with Jacksonville on Sunday

Jaguars quarterback Kyle Sloter (4) throws a pass during an NFL football practice, Tuesday, July 26, 2022, (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Kyle Sloter has been an underdog his whole playing career, and he wouldn’t change anything about it.

The Jaguars signed Sloter on the opening day of training camp to fill in the last quarterback spot left by EJ Perry.

Head coach Doug Pederson said Monday that Sloter was a perfect fit to ensure the offense gets the reps it needs.

“I had watched him a little bit in the USFL this year in some of the spots he’s been in,” Pederson said on Monday. He’s a young guy that, with EJ, again with an injury this summer, we had to decide that we needed another arm to keep throwing and all of that.”

TRAINING CAMP | Pederson earning respect with professionalism

Perry had sustained a hamstring injury during OTA’s in June and was eventually waived to make room for Sloter.

Sloter spent this offseason in the newly formed USFL after the New Orleans Breakers drafted him in the first round. He finished the season with nine starts, completing 57.7% of his passes for 1,798 yards which ranked second in the league. He threw for nine touchdowns and made the All-USFL team.

His season ended when the Breakers lost to the Birmingham Stallions 31-17 in the playoffs.

Sloter said the USFL was remarkable for his game as he could consistently get reps.

“I haven’t had consistent reps as I did with the Breakers in over four years in the NFL,” Sloter said. “To get consistent reps along with live game action gave me a platform to showcase my abilities and get that call.”

Sloter thought if an NFL team gave him the call, it would be midway through the season.

“As an older guy (28), I thought the call would be after camp and into the season after some of the younger guys go through camp and preseason,” Sloter said. “I’m grateful I got the call, however, and I’m here for day one of camp, and I can learn the playbook.”

Sloter has bounced around the NFL since 2017, spending time with the Vikings (2021, 2017–18), Raiders (2021), Bears (2020), Lions (2019), Cardinals (2019), and Broncos (2017).

He has stood out during training camps and preseasons, especially with the Vikings where he’s spent the most time. Throughout the first two days in Jacksonville, Sloter has been given a chance with team reps to land a potential spot on the 53-man roster or practice squad. Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard has not taken any team reps on either day.

Sloter began his collegiate career spending some time at wide receiver for Southern Mississippi. He then transferred to Northern Colorado where he would convert to a quarterback. In his first season under center, Sloter threw for 2,665 yards and 29 touchdowns.

“This is a great opportunity for him to really embrace this chance, embrace this opportunity, get some time in maybe these first couple of games, and get some meaningful reps and tape out there not only for us but also for other teams,” Pederson said.

Visiting and trying out for 26 of the 32 NFL teams can leave a player with a discouraging mindset. Not for Sloter.

He wouldn’t change a thing.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had in my professional career,” Sloter said. “You can be discouraged about it, but it’s my own journey, and I wouldn’t change anything about it.”

Pederson was a quarterback guru with the Eagles and frequently churned out productive backups. He helped lead Carson Wentz to an MVP-caliber season in 2018 before going down with an ACL injury. He threw for more than 3,200 yards along with 33 touchdowns before the injury. Backup Nick Foles stepped in and led Philadelphia to that championship.

Now, it will be Sloter’s chance to be the next in line.

“Every day, you must come out here and earn it. I need to prove that I can be a guy the Jaguars can lean on,” Sloter said. “I have to earn the coach’s trust and prove I’m worth it.”

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