For one of the youngest rosters in the entire NFL, an entirely virtual offseason had the potential to throw a wrench in the Jacksonville Jaguars' plans to develop their team before Week 1 — especially when you consider that the Jaguars' offense will be learning a new offensive scheme under coordinator Jay Gruden.
But second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew II and the rest of his offensive teammates have done their part thus far to make sure they can adjust with the times, including setting up players-only virtual sessions and other activities to ensure they build their chemistry and comfort with the offense and with one another.
"I've been talking to the receivers and everybody. We’re working on being back in Jacksonville soon, we’ll be able to get some field work there," Minshew said in a video conference with local reporters Thursday.
We’ve been doing some players only walkthroughs virtually that have been helping guys learn and also just getting us together. Then, moving forward we’re also going to try and get together a little bit more before camp to kind of get what reps we can, while being safe and smart.”
So, how do virtual walkthroughs work exactly? Minshew walked through the details Thursday, explaining that the walkthroughs give the offense a way to give feedback to one another on specific playcalls and situations.
Considering the Jaguars are unable to be on the field or in a huddle together for an undetermined amount of time, using virtual walkthroughs is likely the closest thing the Jaguars can get to simulating the real thing. With the entire offense learning a new scheme, this kind of tool is invaluable.
“So on Microsoft TEAMS there is an application that is called white board and so you are basically on a group call. I will call out a play and like whoever is in for that play will just draw their assignment and we just kind of go around and talk about it," Minshew said. "What are you thinking here? What do you like against cover two? How are you running this? I think it is a good way, it is one thing to learn it on paper but to hear the call and then know what to do right there, I think it has been a good way, got to make the best of a bad situation.
" I think with how everything is right now it’s as close as we are getting, which hopefully here soon we will all get together and really get quality work together on the field.”
Minshew and his teammates won't be able to fully begin to click on all cylinders until they are physically on the same field, going over plays and getting physical and mental reps in. But until then, Minshew and his teammates will have to settle with continuing to adjust.
For Minshew specifically, he at least has some experience with catching up to an offensive scheme on the fly. He was a widely-traveled player in college as a result of transfers, and his winding road in the past has equipped him to thrive in this current climate.
“Yeah, it’s different. When I was at Washington State this was kind of the similar thing because I wasn’t there for the spring, so I had to a lot of it on my own, as well, but we’ve been fortunate," Minshew said. "We’re meeting everyday with Coach [Ben] McAdoo, Coach [Jay] Gruden and the other guys in the QB room and we’re all just helping each other and getting as good of work as we can and I think you have to take ownership on our own, as well.”