Early Reviews From Gardner Minshew on Jay Gruden's Offense Remain Positive
There will be no relationship more important to the Jacksonville Jaguars' season than that between starting quarterback Gardner Minshew II and new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. The two will need to be in sync and able to adapt to each other's strengths to help the Jaguars find more wins on the field in 2020.
And according to Minshew, it is so far, so good on that adaption, at least from his point of view.
“I think it’s a very exciting offense. I think everybody so far has been really enjoying learning it. I’m very excited for what it’s going to bring for us," Minshew said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
Minshew appeared in 14 games and started 12 as a rookie in 2019. Under the tutelage of ex-offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who spent just one year in Jacksonville, Minshew threw for 3,271 yards, completed 60.6% of his passes and threw 21 touchdowns to just six interceptions. But the Jaguars' offense was the 26th ranked unit in terms of scoring offense, and the second-worst offense in terms of first half points scored. DeFilippo left the team shortly following the end of the season, and the need for a new play-caller became imminent.
In Gruden, Minshew will find himself in a scheme that has seen similar style quarterbacks thrive in the past, specifically Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins. Gruden adapts his scheme to his players and quarterback, but so far it appears as if the scheme is a solid fit for both Minshew and his cast of supporting players.
"I think it just gets the ball out of your hands and distributes it to guys that can make plays. I think we have plenty of those guys, too. So, I think everybody’s excited for what Jay Gruden is bringing and what we have coming back," Minshew said.
While it is important for every member of Jacksonville's offense to gel in Gruden's scheme and absorb his playbook, it is especially important for Minshew to be leading the pack in terms of knowledge of the offense. According to the second-year signal-caller, that is exactly what he has focused on during the virtual-based offseason.
"I think one of the big emphasis this offseason has obviously been learning the offense remotely," Minshew said. "You know you haven’t been in the meeting room every day to be able to ask questions, so it has been kind of figuring it out, talking to whether it is guys on the team who have been in the system before or talking to Coach [Jay] Gruden and [Quarterbacks] Coach [Ben] McAdoo as much as I can. I am just really trying to show up to camp ready to run this offense and help everybody else along.”
When speaking to the local media in May, Gruden also stressed how important it would be for Minshew and him to quickly get on the same page. And while a dramatically changed offseason may have thrown a wrench into how Gruden would typically go about meshing with his quarterback, it is at least clear that it is a priority for him.
"Well, it better mesh. It’s my job to make it mesh, you know, to take on the personality of the quarterback and get him to understand what we’re trying to get accomplished on the play to play, game to game, week to week basis, it’s going to be critical," Gruden said in May.
"I love Gardner’s competitive spirit. You could see it shine through on tape when he was in college and obviously last year in the games he got to play. Now it’s just a matter of him getting some general knowledge of our offense and me figuring out what he likes, what he doesn’t like, what makes him tick and go from there. I’m pretty easy to get along with, I know he is too so I think it will be a great relationship between the two of us.”