Where Gardner Minshew begins on the FanSided.com poll of starting quarterbacks this season does not mean he will finish there.
He talked about it when he spoke to the local media two weeks ago via Zoom. The second-year player, who was handed to keys to a new offense this offseason and will work with offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is under a thick microscope as NFL analysts are waiting to pounce on him should he regress this season.
The reality is the Jacksonville Jaguars’ front office and coaching staff have hitched their wagon to the man with the sick mustache, hoping he becomes the next Mark Brunell, not the next Blaine Gabbert in the team’s quarterback history.
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William Schneiderhan of FanSided.com recently posted his latest quarterback rankings of all NFL starters. No, Minshew wasn’t at the bottom of the list, however, he slides into the 28th position, which means the writer’s confidence in the Jacksonville Jaguars and their current quarterback situation does need some work.
"“It never truly felt as though Gardner Minshew would become the ‘answer’ in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. After a decent rookie year, Doug Marrone decided to send Nick Foles to Chicago and give Minshew some more run as the starter,” Scheiderhan writes."
This offseason has been one of change for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s also been one of patience as Gardner Minshew and his teammates have taken the virtual tour of preparation for the 2020 season. I don’t know how you define what is happening to this organization because there hasn’t been the face-to-face interaction players and coaches usually have by now. It’s now a matter of time until the applications of a new offensive installation will resonate with Minshew, his teammates, and the coaching staff.
Minshew is also looking to build on solid but not spectacular stats from a year ago.
"“Minshew threw 21 touchdowns with 3,271 yards in 14 games. He did look mediocre in some games, but his overall body of work wasn’t bad,” Schneiderhan adds. “Now with the job his for the time being, Minshew has a lot to prove down in Jacksonville. Can he be the long-term answer?”"
What the then-rookie was able to do is win six games, which was more than any other rookie quarterback in the NFL last season. Can he “will” this offense, with better playmakers and weapons this coming season, to seven or even eight victories with a tough schedule?
Gardner Minshew does play in a division with plenty of quarterback change from just a year ago. Deshaun Watson of Houston is the only returning starter at the beginning of the season. Ryan Tannehill will be under center from the start in Tennessee. Phillip Rivers signed a one-year deal in Tennessee.
While he took over after 11 snaps of the season, Minshew replaces Nick Foles as the starter from last season here with the Jaguars.
With all this “newness” does it make for an even playing field? Maybe in the eyes of the fans, who in Jacksonville have gotten squarely behind their quarterback. From a national perspective, it’s an uphill climb that must take patience.
Gardner Minshew not only must become a better quarterback this season, but he also must make the players around him better. The latter task might be more important than the first. We shall see if he can accomplish both while facing criticism from the national media.