As the Jacksonville Jaguars prepare to battle the Indianapolis Colts for sole ownership of first place in the AFC South on Sunday, Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell met with the press during his weekly media availability on Thursday.
AFC South Standings:
1️⃣ Jaguars 3-2 (1-1 in Division)
2️⃣ Colts 3-2 (2-1 in Division)
3️⃣ Texans 2-3 (1-1 in Division)
4️⃣ Titans 2-3 (0-1 in Division)
With the home team coming off a two-week stay in London, directly to an all-important divisional matchup, led by a familiar face, DC Mike Caldwell took the podium to discuss this week's opposing starting quarterback, former Jaguar Gardner Minshew.
We say Moxy. He’s a guy that might not have the name, but the players in that locker room play for him. That’s huge, when you got the other 52 guys believing in you and they believe in him, they’ll go out and play for him. That says something for the quarterback. That’s a big thing, run game will pick up, pass game will pick up, offensive line will pick up because they want to play for him. That’s the kind of quarterback he is, you can see it on film. When he’s been in the game, they’re undefeated.
Minshew, a Jaguars 2019 sixth-round rookie led Minshew Mania. The jorts, the fu man chu facial hair, the Uncle Rico resemblance, and the exciting play when off-script made Minshew a feel-good story in the 2019 season for Jaguar and non-Jaguar fans. However, with little supporting cast, the Jaguars finished 6-10, last in the AFC South, and followed that up by going 1-7 to start 2020. After drafting Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars traded Gardner to the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional sixth-round draft pick.
The exciting, high-variance quarterback of 2019 - 2020 has shown the veteran-like ability of late to take what the defense gives him, however, playing more efficiently in the short and intermediate areas over his last two games. With Minshew's addition to the offense, and the Colts welcoming back Jonathan Taylor (who didn't play in week one) into the offense, Caldwell discussed the potential Colts' offensive changes and challenges he expects for his defense.
I think the run game changes a little bit, but he has enough Moxy to be able to make the runs. He’s athletic, he’s not as athletic as AR [Colts QB Anthony Richardson], but he’s an athletic quarterback and he can buy time with his feet, he can run his own read, he’s able to make plays with his feet. But he also is a veteran quarterback that knows where to go with the ball. I think the offense stays similar and they’ll lean heavily on the running backs and let the quarterback do what he does.
This matchup will also feature the Jaguar's first 2023 challenge of facing a backfield with multiple top running backs, which Caldwell later discussed.
[Johnathan Taylor is] a five-star guy. He’s a guy that you have to account for whenever he’s on the field. You know that at any time, he can take his distance. Moss [Colts RB Zack Moss] is the same way, I don’t want to call it a two-headed monster, but they have two guys back there that can get it done. We’ll have to make sure we’re gap-sound and be in our gaps to try to slow it down as much as we can.
The defense hopes to continue their early season success in limiting the run while improving the pass rush, as both DL DaVon Hamilton and OLB Dawuane Smoot prepare to return to the playing field.
Really, [with Dawuane Smoot] just last week being around more and being engaged with the guys and talking, his leadership shows up being able to help guys in the pass rush. Just like DaVon (DT DaVon Hamilton), being able to get him back would be a boost to the team.
#Jaguars Thursday Injury Report is out— Mia O'Brien (@MiaOBrienTV) October 12, 2023
Another DNP for both Zay Jones & Walker Little. Probably not great for either players' chances to play vs #Colts
Another Full day of practice for Dawuane Smoot. Caught up w/ Devin Lloyd (thumb) today and he tells me he's ready for Sunday pic.twitter.com/xY1NOh5HoH
Also, as previously reported the Jaguars have placed DT DaVon Hamilton on the Designated for Return List and his 21-day window has opened. Hamilton was a limited participant in Thursday's practice. Post-practice, he stated his personal goal to be back on the field before the team's week nine bye week. However, he acknowledged that he has to take it slow and make sure he’s fully back first.
For the first time since he went on Non-Football Illness List (and then IR): DaVon Hamilton met with reporters today— Mia O'Brien (@MiaOBrienTV) October 12, 2023
Says he wants to wait until he’s back on game-field before he discusses exactly what happened to him… which he hopes will be before the Bye Week #Jaguars pic.twitter.com/YNo11yWQuy