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.
If it were not clear before, it’s obvious now that the Jacksonville Jaguars are giving Gardner Minshew every opportunity to become the team’s franchise quarterback. That became pretty clear when the team traded Nick Foles to the Bears, did not go after Cam Newton, and signed Mike Glennon to backup Minshew.
To help Minshew, the Jaguars signed former Bengals TE Tyler Eifert in March, and while Eifert has not seen a lot of the second-year quarterback, he was impressed by what he saw.
“I have not watched a lot of tape on him, but obviously I saw last year with the mania going on,” Eifert said via a video conference call on Thursday. “He seems like a guy that the offense wants to rally behind. He seems like he is kind of a fearless leader, and you need that when you are on the field, and the bullets are flying, and things are not going your way. You need that kind of guy that is going to take charge of the huddle and be like, ‘We got this.’ I think it will be fun to see his growth from Year 1 to Year 2, and I’m excited to get to work with him.”
Eifert is correct. It did appear that the team rallied around Minshew, as evident by his three game-winning drives in 2019. Also, the team was .500 with Minshew, who went 6-6 as a starter last season.
Ultimately, If Minshew wants ‘the mania” to go beyond this year, he will have to play just as good, if not better, than he played as a rookie. Otherwise, the Jaguars will probably go in a different direction.
Finding a quarterback in the NFL is never easy, and for Jacksonville Jaguars, finding a franchise quarterback has been a struggle. Last season, the Jaguars thought they found it when they signed Super Bowl-winning quarterback Nick Foles, but that did not work out. Foles would be injured in the first game of the season, came back, and struggled.
From there, the Jaguars turned to an unlikely player, which was sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew, and Jacksonville was so impressed by his play, that they traded Foles away to the Bears for a fourth-round pick this offseason. Minshew, who was 6-6 as a starter in 2019, has an opportunity to establish himself as the team’s franchise quarterback, and according to RT Jawaan Taylor, the team is looking forward to seeing Minshew lead the way.
“Gardner came in with a lot of energy, and he was a great leader,” Taylor said via a conference call or Tuesday. “Once he came in, we all rallied around him and supported him all the way through the season. He made a lot of great plays for us, and we are looking forward to seeing what he will do for us in the future. As a young offense, we all just practice hard and play together. We are getting better, and we are just building right now.”
Minshew will have even more success in 2020 if the Jaguars’ offensive line plays well, and Taylor feels that will happen.
“We just keep pushing forward and getting better as a unit,” Taylor said. [Offensive Line] Coach “[George] Warhop is doing a great job with us, [Head] Coach [Doug] Marrone and all the other coaches around. They are doing a great job with us. We are just building. I love the guys around me. They helped me have a great rookie year. I learned a lot from them, just coming in under all the vets’ wings and learning the game of football at a higher standpoint. Right now, we are just building and getting better every single day.”
Minshew is a mobile guy, but every quarterback needs protection, so if the offensive line gets it done, Minshew has an opportunity to take that next step.
“Minshew Mania” will hopefully be on full display for the Jaguars in 2020. After trading Nick Foles to the Bears, the Jacksonville Jaguars have become Minshew’s team.
As a rookie, Minshew played reasonably well. Among rookies quarterbacks, the sixth-round pick was second in passing yards(3271), second in touchdown passes(21), and first in wins(6).
In 2019, Minshew’s performance surprised a lot of people, but now, this is his team, and what is expected will be totally different than last season. According to Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, the Jaguars hope Minshew takes that next step in 2020.
“Well, I think, obviously, we want to see a big jump,” Marrone said on a conference call on Tuesday. “Right now, we’re at a time where, again, we’re still in the dead period, so until phase one actually opens up, then we’ll be able to get our players the materials that they need.
“Obviously, it’s going to be some new things that we’re going to have to learn, but Gardner has always been … He works at a really high level, so I’m not concerned about that. I talked to a couple players, texted Gardner, but he’s working extremely hard, and he’s doing everything he can, safety-wise, and I think we just have to get him in here, start practicing at some point, and see what he can do, as far as with him and [Offensive Coordinator] Jay [Gruden], and the system, what he likes, what we have to get him better and improve at, then work on the things that he did well and really fine-tune a lot of those things. We’re excited for him. It’s a great opportunity. He’s not going to change the way he is; he’s a hard-working kid, and he’s got a lot of potential, and we have to make sure that everyone around him is doing their job and doing it at a high level.”
The Jaguars are going to very young at the quarterback position. Currently, the only other quarterback on their roster is Joshua Dobbs, 25, who they acquired in a trade with the Steelers last season.
Minshew was a revelation last season, and if he does grow as a player, Jacksonville has a quarterback. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board for this franchise.
Jaguars rookie QB Gardner Minshew was a revelation in 2019. The sixth-round pick in this year’s draft came in for an injured Nick Foles in Week 1 and went 4-4 as a starter before being replaced by Foles in Week 11. Minshew would replace an ineffective Foles during the Jaguars’ loss to Tampa Bay in Week 13 and would finish the season for Jacksonville, which included Sunday’s 38-20 victory over the Colts in the season finale. The 23-year-old Minshew would finish the season 6-6 as a starter.
Among rookies quarterbacks, Minshew was second in passing yards(3271), second in touchdown passes(21), and first in wins(6). He played well and Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell, who, along with head coach Doug Marrone will return in 2020, is very high on Minshew.
“I give Gardner [Minshew II] a ton of credit for what he did, where he came from, how he handled his business,” Caldwell said. “He got thrust in there Week 1. It’s hard enough for a starting quarterback or a first-round quarterback to take all the reps [and play]. This is a young man that didn’t get very many reps in the preseason, and he ends up having to go in the Kansas City game and the rest of it.
“He won more games than any other rookie quarterback and statistically, in less games, put himself in contention for Offensive Rookie of the Year. I think everybody in this room would agree with that. So, I think he did a really nice job.”
According to Caldwell, Minshew will have a role with the team next season, but Caldwell did not say what it might be at this point.
“As far as the plans moving forward, I think there’s a lot of self-evaluation, like Coach [Doug] Marrone said, in where we’re at, and that will be a decision made by Coach Marrone, and his staff, in collaboration with Shad [Khan] and decide on that,” Caldwell said. “But I don’t think any decision has been made today as to what that’s going to look like, but we feel good about Gardner and moving forward with him.”
Jacksonville has to figure out what they want to do with Nick Foles, who they gave a four-year, $88 million contract last offseason. The 30-year-old Foles is expected to make $22 million in 2020. According to bigcatcountry.com, If the Jaguars just straight-up release Foles, they will have to eat $33.8 million in dead money in 2020.
In the end, it’s cheaper to keep Foles. Ideally, the Jaguars would love to be able to trade him, but you wonder who will take his contract. Maybe you have an open competition between Foles and Minshew and see what happens.
Jacksonville has some time to think about all of these things, but right now, Minshew might have the upper hand as they enter the offseason.
The return of Nick Foles did not go the way the Jaguars thought it would go, and because of that, Jacksonville has decided to go back to rookie QB Gardner Minshew for the rest of the season, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone announced today.
The Jaguars will host the Chargers next Sunday.
Foles, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract in the offseason, was 0-4 as a starter, including going 0-3 in his three starts after returning from a broken collarbone in Week 1.
On Sunday, Foles struggled against the Buccaneers. He completed 7 of 14 passes for 93 yards and one interception. Also, Foles lost two fumbles. Minshew would replace him at halftime, but Jacksonville would lose to Tampa 28-11.
It should be interesting to see if we will ever see Foles again as a starter in Jacksonville, but for now, it’s time for “Minshew Mania.”
Today, Marrone explained why he decided to go with Minshew.
Here is what Marrone had to say:
Marrone: “Obviously we had the quarterback situation, so I’m going to address that right off the bat. I handled the situation this morning, Gardner’s [Minshew II] going to start for us Sunday versus the Chargers. Obviously, it was a tough deal with Nick [Foles] coming back from injury and us not being able to do a good enough job around him really. So, we feel with Gardner’s mobility and elusiveness, it can give us a better chance of winning with the way we’re playing right now, because we’re all not doing a good enough job, the coaches, and we just have to keep it going. So, that’s what we’re doing going forward right now.”
(On if he believes the offensive line is not doing a good enough job of protecting the quarterback)
Marrone: “Well, they’re part of it when you look at protections, but it’s really a lot of things. You have to get open; you have to protect. We have tight ends protecting. We have running backs that will protect. We have to be able to run the ball better, I mean there’s a lot of things that come into it, but yeah, right now obviously, yesterday, we didn’t do a good enough job protecting and we got beat up front and it’s not the way we want to be playing.”
(On how QB Nick Foles handled the news that he would not start in Week 14)
Marrone: “It’s brutal. It’s tough. He’s a competitor. He worked his ass off to come back, and he’s a great pro, so he’s going to do everything he can to help us win, and at the same time, he’s got to be ready in case there’s an injury or whatever it may be. But he’ll be a pro about this. I think the world of him. I think he’s a really good quarterback. I think that he obviously could win in this league, but we’ve got to be able to help him around. We got to have some help around him.”
(On if Foles’ lack of mobility led him to struggle in the offensive scheme and on how Minshew II’s mobility helps the team)
Marrone: “I think the mobility’s going to help us. It’s kind of like how [Associated Press writer] Mark [Long] said, just overall, we’re not being able to give [Foles] a clean pocket where he can sit back there, so I think the mobility, that’s the reason why we made the move. I think the mobility and elusiveness, they give us a better opportunity; a better chance to win.”
(On if Minshew will start for the remainder of the season)
Marrone: “We’re planning on him playing, yeah.”
(On if he is surprised to see the way Foles has performed up to this point in the season)
Marrone: “Like I said before, I still believe in him as the quarterback. I just think that a lot of times it’s never really just the one position, or one person. That’s the one position [where] it’s a team game, you need people around him to do a good job, and right now, we’re all not doing a good enough job. So, we’re just trying to put the best guys out there that give us the best chance to win. And it’s tough. It’s tough when you’re not doing a good job, starting with myself, to the coaches and at times obviously the players. So, we’ve got to hang in there, and we’ve got to try to get past this. We have to obviously learn from it, because it’s a learning experience, but at the same time, shit, we have this bad taste in our mouth. We’ve lost four straight. We’re at home again and we have to find something that we can hang our hat on that we can win football games, so that’s what we’re trying to get done.”
Four starts and four losses for Jaguars QB Nick Foles, and Sunday may have been the low point for Foles. The eight-year quarterback, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract in the offseason to join the Jaguars, was 7/14 for 93 yards and one interception. Foles also lost two fumbles.
Because of his poor play, Foles was replaced by Gardner Minshew at halftime, and ultimately, Jacksonville(4-8) would lose at home to Tampa Bay 28-11.
It tough day for Foles, and after the game, he addressed the media.
Here is what he had to say:
(On the tough day)
“It’s not easy. This is not an easy game and it’s a tough situation, but I’ll continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. It’s a trial and the trials keep coming. Again, it’s not easy but I know where my heart and faith is and where I’m going to lean on in this time like I always do during the good and bad. You never want to go through it. It’s difficult, but I will look at the bright things and continue to keep my head held high. Continue to keep moving forward.”
(On hearing the boos from the fans)
“Yeah, it’s a tough part of the game. It’ll test you when you’re hearing that and ultimately you want what’s best for your team and to keep moving forward. Of course, there were some mistakes made and that’s just part of it. I understand this game, I understand that part of this game. I’ve been a part of it, but I’ve also been a part of turning things around. It’s not easy, it’s really difficult. I’m going to choose the route of continuing to stay positive and continue to believe in the guys in this locker room moving forward because ultimately we are in a trial.
We have been throughout the course of the season. It’s been up and down and all over the place and that’s ultimately, if you can approach it the right way, that’s how you can build something. Once again, never easy. This isn’t easy. We’re blessed to be in this position, and we have to be able to handle it and handle it in a way that can impact people because I know everyone is going to be looking at us to point fingers and know who to blame but we’re all to blame. We put ourselves out there. I made mistakes, and I’ll look at those and look to improve because you never want to put your team in harm’s way which unfortunately I did today. I’ll keep working to improve to become a better player and a better person.”
(On the interception)
“Unfortunately, it was when I threw it at Dede [Westbrook] and right when I was releasing it, I got hit in the side that redirected the ball a little bit. Part of the game but I’ve got to move on and keep moving. You’re going to get bumped when you’re throwing.”
(On turning frustration into a win)
“If I had the quick answer, everyone would be doing it. I think the big thing is to deal with the emotions today. It’s an emotional game, we put a lot of time and effort into it, but it helps when you spend time with your family and get away from this because it is emotional. You’ve got family, friends watching you, playing for a city. You deal with those emotions first, come back tomorrow and look where you need to improve, the good, the bad, the ugly.
“You address it and then put those emotions to the side and come back every single day and give it your best. You have to be critical of yourself. That’s the only way to improve. You can’t let that criticism defeat you. This is a tougher test but ultimately I’m going to keep my head high and keep believing and keep improving.”
(On the concern of the mood in the locker room)
“We’re going to have to come together as a team to make sure it doesn’t happen. To do that, you have to be open and honest and talk with one another. It’s frustrating, you go out there and you want to win and we weren’t able to do that so frustrations run high so you deal with the emotions in the 24 hours after the game, good or bad, you’ve got to deal with them. It’s not easy but you move forward, you put it behind you. You look to improve because if someone asked me about a game I played in high school and I threw two or three interceptions, I probably wouldn’t even remember it. It’s behind me. No one ever talks about it and that’s sort of how it is. We’re in the moment, we’re going to learn from it, move forward.
“I’m going to learn from it and move forward. It’s not the first time I’ve struggled like that, but I know I’m never going to give up and I’m going to keep moving and that’s the toughest part, but I know that’s what’s deep down in my heart.”
(On if he’s still the quarterback of the team)
“Ultimately, with what happened today, Coach Marrone has said he’ll decide something and knows how this goes. I know how I feel in this locker room and how I feel playing quarterback but ultimately that’s his decision, but I know that whenever I am out there, I’m going to give it everything I have for my teammates every single day.”
Jaguars rookie QB Gardner Minshew had a nice run this season. In eight starts, Minshew was able to go 4-4. Also, in those eight starts(nine games), Minshew was able to put up some quality numbers(2285 yards passing, 13 touchdowns). However, in his last start against the Texans, Minshew struggled with turnovers. The sixth-round pick in this year’s draft threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles.
Ultimately, with Nick Foles healthy and ready to go, the Jaguars decided that Foles was the guy to lead the team moving forward, and according to Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, he could sense that Minshew was disappointed in the decision.
“Like I said before, we had a good conversation, a tough conversation for me, because I appreciate what he’s done,” Marrone said about Minshew on Monday. “And specifically pointing out a couple things that we need to keep progressing with him and working on, and I’m sure he’s a competitor.
“I’m sure there’s some level of disappointment personally, but the great part about Gardner [Minshew II] is that he’s going to do whatever he can to help this team win, and he knows that there are things that he’s going to work on and he’s going to improve upon, which is going to make him even better the next time he has an opportunity.”
Anytime you give a player a four-year, $88 million contract, you are going to give him every opportunity to get on the field, and based on how Minshew performed against the Texans, the Jaguars really had no choice but to go back to Foles.
Making the playoffs might be a difficult task for the 4-5 Jaguars, but if Foles, who is streaky, can get on a roll, maybe this team could have shot. “Minshew Mania” was fun. However, it’s time to see what Foles can do.
Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles is healthy, and on Tuesday, Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone decided that he will start in Week 11 against the Colts. Jacksonville is on a bye in Week 10.
Foles, 30, who signed a four-year, $88 million deal this offseason, has missed the last eight games due to a broken left collarbone, which he suffered in Week 1 against the Chiefs.
As a whole, rookie QB Gardner Minshew played reasonably well but struggled last week against the Texans. In that game, Minshew had four turnovers(two interceptions, two fumbles). In nine games(eight starts), Minshew has thrown for 2285 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.
On Tuesday, Marrone explained why he decided to go back to Foles:
Marrone: “First of all, I appreciate you guys coming here earlier. But I wanted to do this, and I think a lot of you guys know when I’ve felt this before, I want to make sure you guys hear things firsthand. I just got done with the team meeting [and] I’ve made a decision on the quarterbacks and Nick [Foles] will be our starting quarterback going forward. It was obviously my decision. I worked hard on it, came to it. I brought both players in this morning [and] spoke to both of them. After I spoke to the players and obviously I wanted to make sure I spoke to the team and then I wanted to get it to our media before they heard it anywhere else, where I can’t control. So, I appreciate that. We’re going through self-scout, all the things now to try to get ourselves better. I think you always find something out during this period of time. And then obviously the challenge is how do you correct it and go forward? We believe coming back that everyone that we have on the roster will be healthy, so that’s what we’re looking forward to. And I told the players, ‘Hey, let’s get away a little bit.’ Let’s come back and let’s get focused on Indianapolis.”
(On what changed his mind to making the decision before the Bye Week)
Marrone: “One of the things that I’ve learned in coaching is that it’s very difficult when – it’s tougher to make decisions when you give yourself a hard timeline, a short timeline. So, for me, when I looked at it, and I wasn’t going to put a lot of time into it prior to the game – the thought process of the quarterback position – I looked at the schedule and I said, ‘OK, what’s the most amount of time that I would have,’ before I had to make a decision. So, I wanted to get that out there to kind of give myself that time if I needed it. Going through, what I did, I took time, obviously I got the game [film] done on the way home from London. [I] stayed up, got a good night’s sleeps, woke up, started working on the quarterback decision right away. I came to a decision and I thought once you come to a decision, you might as well tell the people. I told the players today and I want to get it to you, and I just wanted to do the right thing.”
(On when he came to the decision)
Marrone: “This morning.”
(On how QB Gardner Minshew II took the decision)
Marrone: “I think Gardner’s a competitor. I think that what he’s done. He’s done a great job. I feel a whole lot different about him now than I did prior to him playing in a very positive way. We took some things and had some discussions on things that we’re going to work on going forward which will give him the ability to be a player in this league for a long time. We really believe that.”
(On Minshew’s reaction to the news)
Marrone: “I think you can go and ask him. I mean, obviously when I say someone’s a competitor, and they hear something like that, I think everyone can figure that out.”
(On how much the Week 9 game against Houston impacted the starting QB decision)
Marrone: “I try to take that out and put it as a body of work, and that’s what I did. I think that’s important. I think emotions can run sometimes differently, so I looked at the body of work.”
(On if Minshew’s shoulder soreness impacted his play in London)
Marrone: “I wasn’t even on that thought. He was ready to go.”
(On what factors led him to pick Foles as the starting QB)
Marrone: “I think for me, looking back at all of the work, the work that we put in and I just go back to the experience and what he’s going to be able to do. And I think that’s going to give us the ability [to have] a better chance of winning right now.”
(On how they plan to get Foles back up to speed)
Marrone: “He’s had a 21-day window, which we’ve brought him back. We’ve progressively brought him back into drills and brought him into some high speed, close quarter rushing [drills], where guys were coming at him, blitzes where people were coming free. We felt like we did the best job to make sure that he was in position to be ready once he was healthy.”
(On if Foles will be in the practice facility during the Bye Week)
Marrone: “I don’t know. If you’re asking [if] we have anything planned to do with him? No. But is he going to be gone? I don’t know that.”
(On when Minshew’s play made him question who should be the starter)
Marrone: “I don’t know if I had that thought process, because I don’t think you can do a good enough job for the person that’s there. In your mind, if I’m dancing with this person, but I know at the end of the night I’m going to be dancing with this other [person], I don’t think I’m going to be dancing that well with the first one. So, for me, I don’t really look at it that way.”
(On if the team’s red zone issues factored into the QB decision)
Marrone: “Not into the individual quarterback play decision. I think when you look at our ability in the red zone, I don’t think you can pin it on one person. I think collectively as a group, starting with us as coaches, we have to do a better job, and we have to put our players in better position, and we have to make plays down there. Obviously, we’re not doing well and that’ll be a big focus when we look at this self-scout of what better answers we can have.”
(On if he feels fortunate to have a 4-5 record after losing their QB in Week 1 of the season)
Marrone: “I think that’s another tough question. I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t been able to do a better job for the fans and this team and having more wins because that’s what our job is. The story in the beginning was I feel a lot better because I did not know what we had as a backup quarterback going into the season, and I feel that right now we have two really good quarterbacks. And I think, I told the team today, the example of Gardner, as an example that’s been going on quite a bit on this team, but it doesn’t get as publicized, or I might not bring it up to the team as much, and I brought it up today. I think people like Najee Goode, who was brought here as a backup linebacker who’s starting now. Guys like Tre Herndon, who was thrown into a [starting] role and is playing well for us. Keelan Cole who came in as a free agent, then he had some success, then he really wasn’t playing as much these past couple of weeks, and then all of a sudden, he had back-to-back games with touchdowns. Just being ready, and I think it’s a great example for all of our players. So, that’s how I addressed it.”
(On if he would have been content with a 4-4 record after Foles was injured)
Marrone: “You know what scares me right now? It’s that everyone’s always trying to get to you and figure out what’s going on. I’m talking about my friends, very few, but my friends. And I get a lot of the same questions you ask, and I’m thinking maybe you [Florida Times-Union columnist Gene Frenette] and I are meant to be best friends. But I’m going to tell you exactly what I said to my friend. I said, ‘You know, as the head football coach, as someone that’s in charge of winning, I don’t have the ability to talk that way.’ If someone said, ‘Hey, 8-0, would you go for that?’ Yes! You know what I’m saying? So for me, I don’t have that because when you’re part of a team, and you have so many other players, and you expect people to step up, you believe you can overcome whatever injury or whatever thing you have. I think that’s a case of where the fans, and the people that write, or maybe the players, they would be better with being able to answer that question than someone like myself. Because if I don’t say 8-0, then I wouldn’t be the best of what I’m trying to do. So, when we get a question of, ‘How do you feel?’ well, I feel disappointed because I haven’t done a good enough job because of where we are right now. So, we’re going to fight our asses off and work our way back in to getting ourselves in position to play a game, because like I told the team, we had an opportunity last week to put ourselves in a really good position and we didn’t take advantage of it.”
The first time Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew played the Houston Texans, many were not sure what they were going to see out of the sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. It was Minshew’s first career start, and for most of the game, the Jaguars’ offense struggled. Then, the fourth quarter came along, and Minshew was able to lead Jacksonville on two scoring drives. However, with an opportunity to take the lead on a two-point conversion late in the game, Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was stopped short of the goal line, and the Jaguars would lose to the Texans 13-12 in Week 2.
On Sunday in London, Minshew will get another opportunity to beat the Texans, as the Jaguars face Houston for the second and final time this season.
“I think you get confidence from playing a team and seeing them before,” Minshew said on Wednesday. “You get a little understanding. But we also know it’s going to be a different challenge, they have a lot of things different, as do we.”
This is a big game as far as the AFC South is concerned. Right now, the Texans(5-3), who are in second place behind the Colts(6-2) in the division, are one game up on the Jaguars(4-4), and If Jacksonville loses on Sunday, the Texans would essentially be three games up on the Jaguars because they would have swept the season series. Therefore, the Jaguars have to beat Houston on Sunday.
“I think this is too big of a game to really think about anything else,” Minshew said. “We’re sitting at a pivotal point, 4-4, playing a divisional opponent. This will be the last time we get to play them, so it’s definitely a big one.”
The Jaguars have eight games left, and the next three games for Jacksonville are against division opponents, so this stretch will probably determine whether the Jaguars make the playoffs in 2019, and a win against the Texans would be a great way to start this pivotal stretch for Jacksonville.