A win helps a little bit of everything. Gardner Minshew, the Jaguars rookie signal-caller, moved up in the most recent FanSided.com quarterback rankings.
Last week, National NFL reporter Matt Verderame for FanSided.com called Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew a borderline starter in the league. After the win over the Oakland Raiders this past weekend, Minshew is once again beginning to make a believer out of many NFL analysts, including myself.
Minshew’s fourth-quarter exploits on the field, which included two touchdown passes, helped propel the Jaguars to a 20-16 on the west coast and helped him jump from 23rd to 21st in Verderame’s latest quarterback rankings.
The numbers aren’t breathtaking from last weekend – 17 of 29 for 201 yards and two touchdowns – but they are enough to further evaluate how the scrappy signal-caller has put together a solid season, in spite of the Jaguars owning a 5-9 record this season.
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"Minshew and the Jaguars sent the Raiders packing from Oakland on a sour note last Sunday,” Verderame wrote in his assessment, “As for the quarterback, he’s a promising rookie — especially for a sixth-round pick — but he needs to improve to remain a starter.”"
Yes, there must be improvement, but the Jaguars have had issues with the position for a good portion of the season in which all five wins for this team have come with No. 15 under center. That is something that cannot be denied.
Statistically, Minshew has thrown for 2,795 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 61-percent of his passes. Compared to other quarterbacks in their first season over the course of the Jaguars history, the proof is there – Minshew has done well.
David Garrard was a spot starter for Jacksonville for the first six seasons in Jacksonville. He threw for 1.735 with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2006, followed by an 18 touchdown and three-interception season in 2007.
Byron Leftwich was the starter in his first season in 2003, where he threw for 2,819 with 14 touchdowns in 16 interceptions. Mark Brunell’s first year in Jacksonville, the expansion season, he 2.168 with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
When the team faces the Falcons this weekend, Minshew will once again be under center on a fast field on the road. Jacksonville’s offense showed some life in the second half of the win last week at Oakland. That’s because of the rookie’s ability to move around in the pocket and make plays happen.
It’s a trait some of his predecessors had, and some could not develop. Minshew’s development and ability to learn the game as it happens will help him move up Verderame’s rankings in the future.