The Jacksonville Jaguars have won two games in a row. If they want to extend their streak to three, they'll need to fend off an Indianapolis Colts team that's been better than anticipated in 2023. Currently, both clubs are 3-2 and whoever wins in Week 6 will have sole control of the AFC South. One of the biggest storylines surrounding the game is that they'll likely face a familiar face in Gardner Minshew, who'll most likely get the starting nod in light of Anthony Richardson's injury.
Richardson suffered a shoulder injury against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5 and Minshew took over. In his latest exchange with the media, Colts head coach Shane Steichen confirmed that Richardson had suffered an Grade 3 AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder and will miss an un undisclosed amount of time.
The good news for Indianapolis is that Minshew has fared well in relief of Richardson, completing 68.7 percent of his passes for 553 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions this season. You could make the case that there's a dropoff from Richardson to Minshew but the truth is that the latter has previously had success in the league.
Minshew, a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft, replaced an ineffective Nick Foles and never looked back. He went on to make 12 starts and complete 60.6 percent of his throws for 3,271 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions as a rookie.
Unfortunately, Minshew wasn't able to build on his rookie success and was eventually benched in favor or Jake Luton in 2020. While he wasn't the reason the Jaguars went 1-15 that year, he wasn't part of the solution either, which is why Jacksonville went with Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 draft.
Knowing his days with the Black and Teal were numbered, he said he wanted to go to a place where he could compete for a starting job. He was eventually traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. When he became a free agent earlier this year, he signed with the Colts. Now, he's set to face his former team.
The Jaguars are ready to face Gardner Minshew in Week 6
As soon as the news broke that Anthony Richardson suffered a shoulder injury, it felt like it was going to be a matter of time before the Colts gave Gardner Minshew the starting nod. And although Indianapolis hasn't made an official announcement, it's hard not to envision Minshew lining up behind center in Week 6.
Head coach Doug Pederson told the local media Monday that the Jags would be most likely playing Minshew Sunday and would prepare accordingly.
"I think all the indications are leaning toward Gardner playing this week," Pederson said. "Two different style of quarterbacks. Anthony's big physical strong. He's a runner, very powerful, can throw the ball really well.
"Gardner's still going to be athletic, still gonna be able to move around, get the ball out of his hands, all those types of things. So, two different stylers. We got quite a bit of film on Gardner Minshew as well, so our defense will be prepared," Pederson continued.
The Jaguars already beaten Indy this season and they did it at Lucas Oil Stadium. Now, they'll face them at EverBank Stadium, where the Colts haven't been able to win since 2014. That said, division matchups are always tough and Jacksonville can underestimate Indianapolis just because they beat them in the opener.
On the other hand, the Jaguars defense has been among the best in the league. They currently rank 12th in points scored and have excelled at forcing opposing teams to punt. If the group is ready — as Pederson suggested — Jacksonville should have a favorable chance of sweeping the Colts.
As brief as Gardner Minshew's stint in Jacksonville was, he'll always be remembered as one of the few bright spots in what was otherwise a forgettable 2019 season. However, the Jaguars will pull no punches when they welcome him back in Week 6.