Competition reigns supreme at TIAA Bank Field as the Jaguars continue through training camp with its two quarterbacks in Gardner Minshew II and first-overall selection Trevor Lawrence.
Speaking with the media on Thursday, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell made it clear the two would continue to compete, splitting starting repetitions in practice until that competition is won.
“We’re still going to handle it that way until we end up making the final decision,” Bevell said shortly before practice today. “So right now, there’s still status quo.”
The two quarterbacks have split reps with the first-team offense for weeks now as training camp has unfolded.
On Monday, Minshew received all of the reps, while Lawrence received them on Tuesday. It’s the competition that Meyer, Bevell and all of the Jaguars coaches have continued to preach since the beginning of camp in late July.
“I mean, we’re trying to make everybody better,” said Bevell. “And we want competition in each and every position. And I think that both guys are, you know, are getting better because of it.”
Lawrence would receive the starting nod on Monday, completing 6 out of 9 of his passes for 71 yards, including two highlight-reel throws, completed to receiver Marvin Jones Jr. Minshew completed just 4 out of 8 of his passes for 47 yards and an end-of-the-first-half interception.
Whether it's reps with the first team or second team, Bevell believes that every repetition in practice is important.
“What I tell these guys - I just was telling them this morning -, everything is being evaluated,” said Bevell. “I mean, we evaluate how they’re walking down the hall, how they come to meetings, are they on time? What’s their demeanor? I mean, everything you know, because we’re trying to get the best 53 guys that we can put on the field.
“So every rep that they get out there, whether it’s with the first group, whether it’s with the last group, you shouldn’t be counting lines, you should be making your rep count.”
Still, the Jaguars have not officially named a starting quarterback for this week against Week 2, though it will likely be Lawrence once again.
“Not at this moment,” Bevell said when asked if the team has made a decision about its starting quarterback for Monday night. “But it looks like it probably is going to be Trevor, but we’re still continuing to talk about it.”
Following the game on Saturday against the Cleveland Browns, head coach Urban Meyer and Lawrence both spoke about the rookie’s experience, indicating he held onto the football a bit too long at times.
While Bevell did agree that he did it a few times, he felt the game experience was important for the rookie QB.
“There’s probably a few [times he held the football too long], you know, but I think the whole game, the whole game experience for him was a really important part for him to have,” Bevell said.
“You know, he’s just had NFL training camp, NFL OTAs. You know, so that was his first opportunity to get in there where actually these guys can tackle him. So, I mean, that really changes the dynamic of it. And so he’ll continue to get better each and every time that he goes out there.”
Even with potentially 2 out of 5 of the team’s offensive linemen out for Monday, Bevell believes it will remain full steam ahead on Monday, not holding back the offense simply because they will be down a couple of players, mentioning the situation could occur in during the season as well.
Starting center Brandon Linder and starting left guard Andrew Norwell aren’t likely to play this week with patellar tendinitis and an elbow injury, respectively. In their place will be long-time veteran OL Tyler Shatley and second-year guard Ben Bartch.
“We really have a lot of respect for Shatley, we have a lot of respect for Ben Bartch,” Bevell said when asked about the game proceeding as normal even with some offensive linemen missing. “And I think they’ve done a good job for themselves. So we’ll you know, we’ll play it as a normal game. And we won’t have any concerns with those guys being in there.”
Moving forward, the Jaguars will likely continue the perceived competition between Lawrence and Minshew on the gridiron, and it appears that competition will continue at least through the second preseason game as the team gets just a few short weeks away from the season opener at Houston against the Texans.