In his second game against the Houston Texans this season, Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew faces his AFC rival in London.
Listening to Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo talk about Gardner Minshew’s progress from Week 1 of the NFL season to this coming weekend in London against the Houston Texans is like a proud father talking about the maturity of his son.
The rookie quarterback continues to progress, taking baby steps and even larger ones in his NFL education week after week.
"“If you turn on his first game against Houston, his first start, compared to the last game we played, the Jets, his feet have calmed down tremendously. His vision has calmed down tremendously, has grown exponentially,” DeFilippo told the media on Thursday.“He can tell you what’s going on when he comes over to the sideline and communicates great with [Quarterbacks Coach] Scott [Milanovich]. So, just those things when he gets the ball in his hand, I think he’s really starting to understand he has a chance of seeing before he gets the ball in his hand, in terms of the depth of the safeties, the alignment of the [Line]backers. The backers are bossed over, there’s a chance the free safety can come down and play 33-weak, little things like that. But from a physical standpoint, you just see he so much calmer in the pocket from just a footwork standpoint.”"
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It’s a lot to take unpack by the media in those comments to see just how much better the sixth-round draft pick has matured in just two months, but it’s also a lot for Minshew to accept. Not many quarterbacks have the ability to read defenses and make decisions in and out of the pocket as he has done with the success he is enjoying.
For the season, Minshew has thrown for 1,976 yards with 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions. That’s accuracy and a calm the Jaguars coaching staff has seen in their signal-caller.
t’s something that has helped to keep this team afloat. Facing a tough Texans defense on Sunday means, Minshew will once again have to create magic in the air and on the ground with his ability to scramble. This is the first time he has been to London and is yet another learning experience for the 23-year-old from Washington State.
"“They have [talent] all over the place [the Texans defense],” Minshew explained to the media and talked about playing the game without J.J. Watt in the lineup. “He’s one of the best players really to ever play the game, so definitely it’s a difference when he’s not in there. But they have good enough players where they present challenges all over.”"
Regardless of who is playing across from Minshew and the Jaguars, he said he is ready for the challenge. This being his second game against Houston, there is a certain degree of maturity for the rookie. There have been changes with both teams since they met in Week 2 this season.
"“I think this is too big of a game to really think about anything else. We’re sitting at a pivotal point, 4-4, playing a divisional opponent,” he said. “This will be the last time we get to play them, so it’s definitely a big one.”"
The Texans have their own quarterback sensation in Deshaun Watson, who is a legitimate MVP candidate this year. It could be a game where the first passer to blink decides the outcome of the game.
Minshew has watched plenty of tape of the Texans defense, especially the secondary and is ready to get after it in London this weekend.
"“They have a lot of guys that are going to play, just trying to get prepared for each guy. There’s no way to know what combination of guys they’re going to have back there, but we can see schematically what they’re going to do and attack it that way,” he said."