The expectations are not very high for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020. This is a team that lost a lot of talent over the past few seasons. Jacksonville traded away CB Jalen Ramsey to the Rams during the 2019 season. Also, they traded Pro Bowl DE Calais Campbell to the Ravens and moved QB Nick Foles to the Bears this offseason, so on some level, there is a youth movement in Jacksonville.
The quarterback that will lead this team will be second-year player Gardner Minshew. The former sixth-round pick will have every opportunity to be the franchise quarterback in Jacksonville, and unlike last season, Minshew will be the guy from day one, which he believes will be an advantage.
“I think you get to build those relationships, get a lot more timing with those guys,” Minshew said during a conference call on Thursday. “You can get to know what they like, and they kind of get to know what I like and build that trust there. I’m very excited for that. And even just now, being able to have those conversations with them — them being the receivers, tight ends, running backs, and linemen — I think that’s already given us a leg up from last year.”
Last season, as a rookie, Minshew threw 21 touchdowns and was 6-6 as a starter, and he is hoping to be even better in 2020.
“I’ve been trying to [improve] really every asset – bigger, faster, stronger,” Minshew said. “Really putting an emphasis on trying to figure out the best weight for me to have as much arm strength as possible, while maintaining as much speed.”
Minshew will also be learning a new offense this season, as the Jaguars brought in former Redskins head coach Jay Gruden to be the team’s new offensive coordinator. A new offensive coordinator means a new offense, and because of COVID-19, Minshew has to learn the offense virtually.
“Yeah, it’s different,” he said about learning the offense virtually. “When I was at Washington State, this was kind of the similar thing because I wasn’t there for the spring, so I had to a lot of it on my own, as well, but we’ve been fortunate. We’re meeting every day with Coach [Ben] McAdoo, Coach [Jay] Gruden and the other guys in the QB room and we’re all just helping each other and getting as good of work as we can, and I think you have to take ownership on our own, as well.”
While the expectations for the Jaguars might not be too high in 2020, Minshew hopes to use the low expectations to fuel him this season.
“I think it should put a chip on everybody’s shoulder on our team, know being kind of counted out like that,” he said. “I think we do have a lot to prove, prove that we are not what anybody says about us, the only people that really know, the only peoples whose opinions matter is who is in that huddle, who is on that team and I think we are going to set those expectations for ourselves and not worry about what anybody else has to say about us.”
No matter what happens with Minshew and Jacksonville, Minshew should be exciting, and if he and the team are successful, “Minshew Mania” will be in full effect.