On Thursday, the Jaguars announced the release of 2018 backup and eventual starter, Cody Kessler. Only a few hours following the announcement that Kessler was released, rookie Garnder Minshew was announced as the first of the team’s seven draft picks to agree to terms on a contract with the team.
While the timing of both moves was likely coincidental, the symbolism of the transactions couldn’t be more real. The Jaguars now enter their final phases of the off-season workouts and training camp having assured themselves of allowing Minshew to have every opportunity to earn the role as Nick Foles’ backup come September 8th against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Barring the team making a move to pick up a veteran to add to the mix— and there could be some potential names post-June 1st depending how situations for teams such as Washington pan out— the competition for the number two quarterback spot should not be a tough hill for the sixth-round pick from Washington St. to climb, with last year’s sixth-rounder Tanner Lee and first-year player Alex McGough, both of whom spent most of 2018 on practice squads, the only players standing in Minshew’s way of the job. Lee was sub-par in his few looks with the Jags during the 2018 pre-season, while McGough is an intriguing prospect but an unknown entity in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars noted Minshew’s football IQ and accuracy as two of the biggest selling points on taking him in the draft, and he stated in interviews following his selection that the first thing he did after being drafted by the team was request a playbook so as to get a head start on absorbing John Defilipo’s system. That all sounds promising of course, but we truly won’t know how capable the rookie is of being the next in line behind a starting quarterback in Foles who has yet to complete a full sixteen game season in his career, until the proverbial bullets start to fly this summer.
That said, I think we’d all prefer a few games of Minshew learning on the job in the unfortunate event Foles were to get injured, to having to watch a Cody Kessler-led offense any longer.