Gardner Minshew has taken the media by storm. Mainly known for his mustache, this 6th round rookie has gained popularity from the impact he has brought to the Jacksonville Jaguars, a struggling team offensively. After jumping in for an injured Nick Foles in week 1 of the season, Minshew made his presence known by fighting back in the loss against the Chiefs, putting up 275 yards and 2 touchdowns while having an 88% completion percentage after stepping in.
He would continue playing at a consistent level, doing his best to keep the passing game going, and ultimately winning some games for the Jacksonville Jaguars with his incredible awareness and play making ability demonstrated on the field. Is this 6th round pick the future of Jacksonville, or was this rookie season all luck?
In his 14 games featured in along with 12 official starts, Gardner Minshew put up 21 touchdowns to go along with 6 interceptions while having a total of 3,271 yards passing. Rushing wise, Gardner Minshew ran for 344 yards on 67 rushing attempts. All in all, he put together a 91.2 passer rating in his rookie season. Not bad for a 6th round pick.
To put his rookie year more into perspective, let’s compare him to the rookie QB’s drafted in the top 10, Kyler Murray, who was drafted #1 to the Arizona Cardinals and Daniel Jones, taken at #6 to the New York Giants.
16 starts – 64.4 completion percentage – 3,722 yards passing, 20 TD’s, 12 INT’s – Passer rating 87.4 – 48 sacks – 544 yards rushing, 4 TD’s – 5 fumbles
13 games featured with 12 starts – 61.9 completion percentage – 3,027 yards passing, 24 TD’s, 12 INT’s – Passer rating 87.7 – 38 sacks – 279 yards rushing, 2 TD’s – 18 fumbles
14 games featured with 12 starts – 60.6 completion percentage – 3,271 yards passing, 21 TD’s, 6 INT’s – Passer rating 91.2 – 33 sacks – 344 yards rushing, 0 TD’s – 13 fumbles
Taking a look at the stats, his numbers are nearly identical to those drafted much higher. Even then, he has a lower fumble rate than the #6 overall pick and had the best passer rating out of all three. While his arm is not one to show for, and, as stated above, needs work on ball security, Gardner Minshew has made a name for himself as he is good at extending plays, which is not something you would see from a 6th round rookie quarterback.
What can be Done to Help his DEVELOPMENT?
If the Jacksonville Jaguars want to help him blossom his flashes of success into something bigger, they would need to build the right team around him and provide him with the right coaching.
Passing wise, Gardner Minshew has developed chemistry with 2nd year stud D.J. Chark. This is something that should not be touched, as it is one of the most important factors to the Jaguars’ success on offense. Even then, Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook have also been very reliable with Minshew under helm.
If JAX wants to continue to succeed, maintain the current chemistry, and with Marqise Lee dealing with injuried and Keelan Cole on his contract year, the Jaguars should also add in another receiver to better the rotation. Leonard Fournette and Ryquell Armstead are also reliable in the backfield, so that should not be an issue for the Jaguars.
There is, however, inconsistency in the tight-end position, especially after James O’Shaughnessy’s season ending injury. The position has silently been a non-factor throughout the season. There has also been inconsistency in blocking and penalties throughout the offensive line, not to mention the under-performance of the defense in 2019. John DeFilippo, the offensive coordinator in 2019, has also been fired.
If the Jacksonville Jaguars want to build off of Gardner Minshew, set him up for victory. First, give Minshew needs a tight end to provide passing and blocking potential, which is a no-brainer. There has been inconsistency at the guard position. With A.J. Cann and Will Richardson splitting reps, there could be a guard added, however, the bigger issue is discipline.
The Jaguars have had 132 penalties throughout the season, 2nd most in the NFL. Starters on the offensive line have dealt with series of false start and holding calls, which calls for a need in discipline on the team. Hopefully, the new offensive coordinator can help in some way to do so, and maybe Doug Marrone, the head coach and former offensive lineman can step up and help his offense perform to its fullest capacity.
Finally, the Jaguars need to cut down on points allowed and better that defense to how it was in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons. The Jaguars trailed in 13 of their 16 games at halftime in 2019. If they want to do better, they would need to rebuild that defense and add in young talent so that the Jaguars can find stability.
The Jaguars were top 10 in yards allowed per game. This off-season should be focused on recreating a strong defense, and setting up Gardner Minshew for success, so that he would not have to play from down in a competition as much as he did in 2019.