Quarterback Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars defense proved to be no match in the second half of the 38-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
As soon as the whistle blew and the Jacksonville Jaguars had completed a 38-20 come-from-behind win over the Indianapolis Colts, the questions started coming in.
Where was this kind of performance all season?
Why did the team have to win a meaningless game? It ruined their chance of getting a higher draft pick.
Both questions are valid when discussing the Jaguars season, which has been anything but normal. But in the scheme of things, looking at the past 10 days where change has already begun, a win does more to help this franchise moving forward.
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Jacksonville now owns the ninth and the 20th pick in the first round acquired in the trade that sent Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this season. It also gives the team four picks in the first 73 selections. Getting better or improving starts with free agency, but ultimately, finding star players in the Draft helps set this organization on a course for success.
Sunday’s game was one where all three phases of the team played above expectations.
"“We kept the energy up out there on the field even though we were down in the first half, but we turned things around pretty quickly to get the win,” defensive end Calais Campbell said following the game. “It was no pressure out there, just guys out there playing a game of football.“I told the guys that this is something that we can build off of, there is a lot of character being built this season and if we can harness that in the offseason, then I know this team can be something special.”"
Maybe that’s what the Jaguars needed, a pressure-free Sunday amid the talk of head coach Doug Marrone’s future with the organization unknown and which players, including Campbell, who is going to his third-straight Pro Bowl with the team, who may become a salary cap casualty.
"“Of course, I’m on the contract still. I know in the past I said that I didn’t know because this business is tough, but I’m on the contract still so I expect to be here with this team,” Campbell explained when asked about playing with the black and teal next season."
The Jaguars front office, whoever is making the decisions, will weigh Campbell’s remaining contract and the contracts of other veterans who may prove too costly for next season. Then, there is the situation with Yannick Ngakoue, whose rookie deal is in its final days and the fourth-year defensive end has not heard about the possibility of renegotiating a new deal for 2020 and beyond.
"“When I first got here, I was considered a third-down rusher,” Ngakoue said. “I was counted out. I was the 69th pick; I got passed up by all 32 teams three times. I just tried to improve my run game while also trying to be a better leader for these guys.“I have been here for four years and I’ve learned a lot. Business is business and I’m not sure what the future holds.”"
On the offensive side of the ball, the coaching staff has seen what rookie Gardner Minshew can do on the field, leading the team to all six wins this season. Nick Foles, who was expected to come in and take this offense over and move the organization closer to the playoffs, now could become one of the highest-paid backups in the NFL and a huge error in judgment for the front office.
Minshew was excited to get the win and cap off the season on a positive note.
"“It’s huge. It gives you a glimpse of what we can be and what we should be,” he said. “It should give us a lot of excitement, optimism, and hope going forward as we bust our tails this spring.”"
For the season, the sixth-round pick out of Washington State threw for 3,271 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions on the season.
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