By trading away QB Nick Foles just a year after he was the jewel of their free-agent class, the Jaguars have made it clear they intend to give 2019 sixth-round QB Gardner Minshew every opportunity to prove himself as the starter in 2020. However, Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette lobbied for Jacksonville to sign QB Cam Newton in an interview on ESPN last week, citing Newton’s credentials which at this point are more impressive than Minshew’s. With Jacksonville unlikely to sign Newton at this point, all that appears to have done is create a potential locker room rift between Jacksonville’s two most-prominent offensive players.
“You know, with players, you’re always going to have friends [who say] like, ‘Hey, this guy should come, or that guy should come,’ and you try to talk to the players about talking about the team and doing what is best and keeping a single message, but then a lot of times you’re going to have to be able to communicate in that locker room, I mean that is the big thing with me,” Jaguars HC Doug Marrone told NBC’s Mike Tirico via Pro Football Talk. “I mean, we all talk about men are all men and everything, when you are in that locker room, you’ve got to say, ‘Hey listen, I said this because I really think this is best for the team,’ and if you can’t say this is what’s best for the team, then you’re going to have issues. . . . It’s not like a coach can get in between two players and fix something. You know, these things have to be fixed among each other at times and the coach can go in there and try to guide it through.”
While the Jaguars were just 6-8 in games Minshew played significant snaps, the eccentric signal-caller blew away all expectations as a sixth-round rookie. He quickly became a fan favorite because of his mustache and swashbuckling attitude which translated to his play on the field. He threw 21 touchdowns to just six interceptions and regularly scrambled to buy time or gain yards. Marrone said the coaching staff has real hope “Minshew Mania” has some staying power.
“[I]t was exciting because in the beginning, this is well-documented, we weren’t sure if we needed to go out and get a backup quarterback early in the season because of the preseason or we were going to stick with Gardner?” Marrone said. “When Nick, he unfortunately got hurt early on and [Minshew] came in and played well towards the game plan we were thinking to ourselves, ‘Hey listen, this kid is a lot better than we thought coming into the season,’ and then the second game he started of struggling a little bit against Houston and then really in the last three drives lead us on potential scoring drives late in the game. [Against] Denver he came back in the two-minute situation. It seemed like whenever the pressure was at its highest he performed at his best.”
- Former West Virginia and the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks S Kenny Robinson had a video meeting with the Jaguars among other teams. (Jordan Reid)
- Turron Davenport of ESPN notes that TCU T Lucas Niang has received interest from the Titans. The team has also had a virtual meeting with Oklahoma State CB A.J. Green.
- Minnesota DB Antoine Winfield Jr told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that the Titans are among the teams he’s heard from during the predraft process.