By: Hays Carlyon
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone was clear in what he’s looking for in second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew.
Marrone met with reporters via video conference on Tuesday. Minshew is the entrenched Jaguars starter, following a rookie season in which he threw 21 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Minshew was handed the starting job when the Jaguars traded veteran Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round pick. Minshew was 6-6 as a starter last season for the Jaguars (6-10). Foles was winless in four starts.
The Jaguars are clearly Minshew’s team.
“Obviously, we want to see a big jump,” Marrone said.
The Jaguars were set to begin the voluntary off-season program on April 20, but that won’t happen as the country deals with the coronavirus crisis. That complicates things for the Jaguars, as Minshew must get familiar with new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s system.
Marrone indicated meetings will be taped and emailed to players, if the league permits it. He has been texting Minshew to stay in contact.
“Gardner works at a really high level, so I’m not concerned about that,” Marrone said. “He’s working extremely hard and he’s doing everything he can, safety-wise. 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 Jay and the system. Find out what he likes, what we have to get him better and improve at, then work on the things that he did well and really finetune a lot of those things. We’re excited for him. It’s a great opportunity.”
Marrone doesn’t believe Minshew’s promotion to unquestioned starter will change his approach. Minshew’s rise has been stunning. He’s less than a year removed from being a sixth-round pick, a starting point that puts a young quarterback firmly on the cut line.
“He’s not going to change the way he is,” Marrone said. “He’s a hard-working kid and he’s got a lot of potential. We have to make sure that everyone around him is doing their job and doing it at a high level.”
The Jaguars have helped Minshew in free agency with the addition of tight end Tyler Eifert. The team also holds 12 picks in the upcoming draft.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)