While entering the 2020 offseason, the Jaguars will be evaluating all aspects of the roster, but the quarterback situation will be the most important to get a grip on. Having two capable starters on the team’s roster at quarterback proved to be immensely important following the injury to veteran quarterback Nick Foles only 11 snaps into the 2019 regular season.
Today at the 2020 NFL Combine, Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell spoke at length about both quarterbacks, but specifically the play of his rookie quarterback — Gardner Minshew II.
The Jaguars general manager tries not to think about the way the quarterback situation unfolded as an overtly positive outcome due to what Foles and his family had to go through after being signed to a franchise-record breaking contract only a few months prior.
“Well no I try not to (think about the situation),” Caldwell began. “But I think the one positive of that...it did allow us to find that we do have a guy in Garnder that we feel like, if we need to, we can build around and win with.”
While Caldwell wouldn’t outright state that the team will be building around Minshew II for the future, he did give ample ammo to those that feel the team needs to lean in that direction. Caldwell made sure to say in his press conference that simply because Minshew II started the majority of the season, it doesn’t necessarily give him a “leg up” on the quarterback competition, “another year being in Jacksonville, we will see how that plays out.”
“I think both of those guys are in a situation where they both have proven in their own way that they can be a good quarterback in the NFL,” Caldwell said when asked about the quarterback situation. “And Nick obviously has a much larger body of work than Gardner does, but for what Gardner did last year as a rookie I think was very impressive and he won six games and was .500 in games he started, and 20+ touchdowns, low interception rate.”
Minshew II carried the Jaguars to a 6-6 record in 12 games starting last season while throwing for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and only six interceptions. His play last season was among the best of all rookie quarterbacks. Caldwell stated during his press conference he feels Minshew II had probably the best stats of any rookie, and while it’s something to take note of there are two quarterbacks on the roster the team feels very good about.
Ultimately, the best trait for a quarterback in Caldwell’s eyes is the ability to win games. Both Minshew II and Foles have shown the capability to do that. Foles currently holds a quarterback record of 26-22 and was 26-18 before signing with the Jaguars. Foles also went on to take the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl, Caldwell reiterated. Minshew II’s ability to win games was paramount to the Jaguars prior to selecting him last season.
“Gardner’s done that throughout his career whether it was in high school, whether it was at Washington State where they won 11 games the year he came out and last year for us. He’s got the ability to lead a team and win games.”
The Jaguars will fully evaluate their quarterback situation as we get closer to training camp and the regular season. Until then, the team feels comfortable with Minshew II and his ability to lead the team to victories in the future. Their confidence has grown, and that will speak volumes moving foward.