If Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew starts the 2020 season slowly, will fans look to see if Nick Foles is successful in Chicago?
If Nick Foles is able to win the starting job in Chicago, how often will Jacksonville Jaguars fans pay attention to the scoreboard on Sunday afternoons? Will they compare the former Jaguars signal-caller and the success of their current gunslinger, Gardner Minshew?
I ask this question because it’s a fair one. Will Foles’ success this season be compared to Gardner Minshew and vice versa? In a league where winning matters and the Jacksonville Jaguars hopes of upward mobility are squarely on the shoulders of the second-year star, what happens in Chicago does matter.
The Jaguars sent Foles to Chicago to reunite with quarterback coach John DeFilippo and wrestle the starting quarterback job from Mitchell Trubisky. One the trade was made, the Jaguars awarded the starting job to Minshew, which delighted a city that is solidly behind their leader.
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But a player is only as good as his next game. And if the progress Minshew makes between Year 1 and Year 2 is not the steep leap everyone is hoping for, don’t be surprised if some of are second-guessing the decision of Superman taking over the offense in Jacksonville.
"“And here we are once more as another season is set to unfold for the Jaguars and the question of whether a franchise QB is in the building remains,” writes Grant Gordon of NFL.com.“This time around, a rebuilding roster surrounds a mustachioed, scrambling, slinging second-year signal-caller named Gardner Minshew with a headband above his brow, a little bit of magic and a whole lot more potential in his arm and a shot to answer the seasonal quandary in Jacksonville.”"
Hopefully, the work this offseason, with an emphasis on getting in better shape and working on his release will benefit the Jaguars organization. If there is a player who enjoys the doubters, it might be Minshew, whose personality is perfect for the southern town that prays every night for a winning football team.
Minshew has the weight of the county on his shoulders this season – now that the NFL knows who he is and how he somehow willed this team to six wins last season. Can he work his magic again? Will the new offense make him a better pocket passer? Has the work this summer helped him cure his bouts with fumblitis? Can he remain a commanding leader on the field and take on some of that responsibility in the locker room?
All of those concepts must be addressed. Gardner Minshew must be the complete package in 2020. And in return, there cannot be any doubt that he is the team’s unspoken leader.
"“Perhaps most impressive, Minshew became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to average 230-plus yards per game, while throwing for more than 20 touchdowns and less than 10 interceptions in a season (according to NFL Research), Gordon added.“He’s one of only four rookie QBs in NFL chronicle to have more than 20 touchdowns and less than 10 picks (he had six).”"
Gardner Minshew’s second act in the NFL should be better than the first because if nothing else, he is Gardner Minshew. The player who has always fought through adversity and proven he can succeed. He’s not the best quarterback in the league.
Not the most polished and certainly not the most proven. But he might be the hungriest, which makes him better just by being on the field. This is enough to garner some attention and a fighting chance to make more history in Jacksonville.
And if all that happens, then the fans won’t be worried about Foles in Chicago or any other quarterback in the league. Gardner Minshew will once again become one of the success stories of the NFL.
Hopefully, it means more than six wins and it shows the Jaguars were right about their decision at quarterback – because they will be able to say their man is their franchise player. And all comparisons stop at his feet.