The Jacksonville Jaguars will have a quarterback controversy heading into the 2020 offseason with veteran quarterback Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew II, who’s rookie year took Jacksonville by storm this past season.
Lost only 11 plays into the 2019 season, Foles was only able to compete in four contests — 11 total quarters —, completing 77 out of 117 (65.8%) of his throws for 736 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
While Foles didn’t get the season he wanted in a roller-coaster of a first year in Jacksonville, the Jaguars’ rookie quarterback — Minshew II — was able to take advantage, and now feels he will be a great quarterback in the NFL for quite some time.
#Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew II asked about how his numbers were better or similar to other rookie QBs taken higher. He instantly answers back “better”— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) December 30, 2019
Continued to say “helped my team win and I did that better than any other rookie QB”
Fantastic answer from the rookie pic.twitter.com/mUFL8L7Z8b
Completing 285 out of 470 of his passes for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns, and four interceptions during his rookie season, Minshew II set franchise rookie records in Jacksonville and took the league by storm earning the moniker, ‘Minshew Magic’. What the future holds in Jacksonville for Minshew II is up for debate, however his general manager, Dave Caldwell spoke on the season he’s had an reflected during his press conference earlier this week.
“I give Gardner [Minshew II] a ton of credit for what he did, where he came from, how he handled his business,” Caldwell said when asked about his evaluation of Minshew II. 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.”
Minshew II did not receive many training camp repetitions with the starting unit, however he received many preseason repetitions as the Jaguars sought out a backup to Foles. Head coach Doug Marrone did not want to give too many repetitions to his starters after an injury-riddled 2018.
“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.”
With a record of 6-6, the rookie quarterback had more victories than fellow rookie quarterbacks such as Kyler Murray (Cardinals, five victories), Dwayne Haskins (Washington, two), and Daniel Jones (Giants, three). While he may not win offensive rookie of the year, he put himself squarely in the running including winning offensive rookie of the month (September) and six offensive rookie of the week awards in 12 starts, 14 games played.
It is not yet known whether or not the team views him as a potential franchise quarterback, but he’s at least made a lasting impression, and he did a nice job, according to Caldwell.
“I think there’s a lot of self-evaluation, like Coach [Doug] Marrone said, in where we’re at,” said Caldwell on if Minshew II will be the centerpiece of the offensive moving forward. “And that will be a decision made by Coach Marrone, and his staff, in collaboration with Shad [Khan] and decide on that. 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.”
The Jaguars will be waiting in limbo to see which of the two will become the face of the franchise — if either ultimately will be. As for now, Minshew II clearly has a leg up.