Jaguars betting on Gardner Minshew to provide hope
Nobody expects much from the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. Maybe for good reason.
Blake Bortles never improved, cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey, and defensive end Calais Campbell were traded, linebacker Telvin Smith took a hiatus from football and Allen Robinson walked in free agency.
The result is a Jaguars team expected to be picked dead last by almost all pundits not only in the AFC South, but the NFL.
However, perhaps there’s reason to believe Jacksonville isn’t going to be the mess so many see it as.
Second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew is trying to build off an improbable rookie season where he threw for 3,271 yards and 21 touchdowns against six interceptions in 14 games (12 starts). The sixth-round pick out of Washington State was called upon in the second quarter of Week 1, when Nick Foles went down with a broken collarbone.
Minshew ended up leading Jacksonville to six wins, despite being without a quality offensive line or an elite target. With experience as an ally, it’s fair to wonder whether Minshew can become the long-term answer with the Jaguars.
Head coach Doug Marrone spoke about Minshew on Friday, and while many see the free-spirited side of his quarterback, Marrone sees a different approach. Per NFL.com:
“I see the guy that comes in with a mission and a focus every single day. When he’s here or around myself, not to say that we might not laugh about something or joke, we do, but I don’t see that other side that people say about the quirkiness or things of that nature. Maybe I bring that out in people, I don’t know. I’m just saying I see a guy that’s focused and he’s ready to go and every time he’s here and he’s working, he’s on a mission and he’s really working with his teammates.”
Realistic expectations for Minshew and the Jaguars aren’t about making the playoffs. Instead, it should be Minshew improving on his 60.6 completion rate and continuing to keep his turnover rate low while elevating his touchdown numbers.
If Minshew can do so, it’s a win for Jacksonville, even if it doesn’t have many in the actual column come this fall.