By: Hays Carlyon
We’ve seen Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew be the artist.
We’ve seen him escape pressure and throw gorgeous touchdowns, leaving defenses to wonder how did he do that.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is seeing the other side that is more important: the accountant.
For Minshew to thrive despite his lackluster size and arm strength, he must blend both.
He must be the accountant, the grinder that knows his scheme thoroughly and can anticipate what the defense is going to do and how to beat it.
He must also be the artist, the master creator who can play above the X’s and O’s to make the throw most can’t.
That’s how Minshew can become the long-term starter here. That’s how he can become the first franchise quarterback the Jaguars have had since Mark Brunell.
Minshew has 16 opportunities to prove to the Jaguars that their massive draft capital in 2021 should go everywhere except quarterback. That starts Sunday when Indianapolis visits TIAA Bank Field in the regular season opener.
Minshew wants the world to see him as the flamboyant artist. However, he’s intelligent enough to know that behind the scenes he must be the accountant. That means diligent, tedious and methodical preparation.
The rock star doesn’t show you the thousands of hours he spent practicing the guitar. The rock star just shows up and shreds.
“I see him as a guy who comes in here every day and prepares like he’s an accountant,” Marrone said. “Which is probably the exact opposite of what you feel because you see him in a different light. … I don’t know that person, I know the accountant that comes in and works his butt off. That’s what I focus on.”
Minshew’s brain is his best asset. It’s why he was able to correct his fumbling issues last season as a rookie. It’s why he was able to come off the bench cold in relief of injured Nick Foles in last season’s opener and complete 22 of 25 passes.
It’s why you can bet he’ll know every detail of new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s plan to beat the Colts.
“He’s been a professional and that’s the way you have to be at the quarterback position,” Gruden said. “When he wants to let his hair down, which he has a lot of it, I’m sure he can do that off the field. But I’ve been very impressed with Gardner as a professional quarterback and how he’s handled himself on the field and in the classroom.”
The accountant also draws the respect of his teammates. The artist can be flaky.
Minshew has clearly won over any detractors in the locker room, as receiver DJ Chark pointed out.
“You know that the guys in the locker room support you and they want you to succeed,” Chark said. “As opposed to wishing that somebody else was quarterback.”
The artist might take being voted a captain for granted. The accountant doesn’t.
“That’s one of the highest honors you can have is being voted on by your peers to represent them and to be their captain,” Minshew said. “Of all of the awards you can win, that’s one that really, to me, means a lot. It means the most because that’s really how you are with the guys around you and their opinion of you and I think that’s the best judge of somebody.”
Minshew has a dazzling personality.
But, as a football player, he might as well have a pocket protector on his uniform.
And that’s a beautiful thing for the Jaguars.
Minshew is a gifted artist on the field, but it’s the accountant side of him that will decide his NFL future.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)