Described as being like an ‘accountant’ in the building by his head coach, Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II has earned the trust of his locker room, including its star player in defensive end Josh Allen.
Minshew took the league by storm after coming in to replace an injured Nick Foles last season. While he wasn’t thought of as a superstar then, he has been one of the most popular quarterbacks in the league, since.
From shooting a commercial with Uncle Rico to throwing a game winning touchdown pass against the Oakland Raiders, he’s been through the gauntlet of NFL stardom.
Last season, Minshew performed above and beyond his expectations as a sixth-round backup quarterback entering the year. After completing 62% of his passes for 3,444 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions, while bringing the team to a 6-6 record in 12 starts, he’s earned an opportunity this year.
Allen sees the vision, understands what Minshew means to the Jaguars’ organization, a “great” quarterback in the NFL, who’s seemingly got it all.
“I see a superstar,” Allen remarked when asked about what his perception of Minshew is. “I think, in my eyes, I do believe Gardner is a superstar, in my eyes. I think he’s a great quarterback. I feel like he’s shown that many times and he’s going to continue to show that. He has the whole team, the whole organization behind him.”
Minshew has seen ups and downs while in the NFL. Last week against the Indianapolis Colts, he completed 19 out of 20 of his passes, throwing for 173 yards and three touchdowns, an impressive outing from a quarterback of a team that is supposedly tanking.
“He has the look, he has the swag, he has the arm and he has the plays to make—to be who I consider a great quarterback in the NFL. That’s my guy.”
Having a signal-caller the team respects can bode well for the team as a whole. This year, Minshew was voted on by his peers to be one of the eight allotted captains of the team.
The Jaguars will get another opportunity this Sunday to prove themselves right, the team has felt together, something Marrone says is refreshing, no more distractions, even with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the protocols that come with it.
“I told them that how much I appreciate, how much refreshing it was for me, even for us, where we can concentrate on the coaching aspect of it,” Marrone said on Friday. “We’re going through all of these protocols; they’ve really done a good job. They’re just guys that enjoy football and you just [say], ‘Hey this is what we have to do, this is why we have to do it’ because I’ve always been a big believer to make sure they understand why.”
Last season, the Jaguars went through plenty of distractions. From players demanding trades, to an NFLPA memo sending shock waves through the NFL telling prospective free agents to think long and hard before joining the Jaguars.
Now, with a retooled roster, the Jaguars have some breathing room and have already felt some of the effects of having team players.
“When you’re dealing with any of the adversity we’ve dealt with this year, it’s always been a team situation, so I think that it’s been very refreshing. The funny part about it is if someone does something out of character, it’s always like, ‘Don’t change.’ Now that’s not me saying that. You hear a lot of the players and coaches in situations where we can just kind of laugh for a minute.”
While the football world has created a narrative about how bad the team is, Allen says it’s simply not their mindset, that the team is together as one sound mind.
“When the people see some of our players leave, they think, ‘Oh that team is going to be crappy,’ you know what I mean,” Allen said.
“But little do they know, they’re not in our organization. They don’t know what types of guys we have now and what types of competitors that we have. And we play together, we play as one defense, one sound, one mind and that’s how we execute and that’s how we’re going to continue to play for the rest of the season.”
Having a signal-caller like Minshew helps, too. The Jaguars can rest easy knowing that their quarterback will fight for them. With his personality on and off the field, Allen enjoys his energy, simply being around him.
“In the locker room, he’s ‘G-Money’ to me,” said Allen. “He’s laughing, joking, hitting each other—you know, doing what everybody else [does]. And that’s great to see that your quarterback is like that. He’s a well-rounded individual, who’s super cool and chill.”
“That’s my dawg though, that’s my dawg.”