Gardner Minshew on New Backup Role: ‘Anything I Think I Can Help With I’m Going to Do It’
Wednesday was a notable day at TIAA Bank Field, as for the first time since Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone announced last week that Nick Foles would be the team's starting quarterback moving forward, rookie sensation Gardner Minshew II spoke to the media.
Minshew went 4-4 as the team's starting quarterback following Foles going down with a clavicle injury in the team's Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and he tantalized Jaguars' players, coaches, ownership and the general NFL alike.
Minshew Mania was born and for two months the trials and tribulations of the sixth-round rookie quarterback who was forced into action following an injury to the team's franchise quarterback. But last week those days ended, at least for now, as Foles was given back the reins of the offense.
“I was disappointed a little bit, obviously. Because everybody wants to be that guy in the huddle," Minshew said Wednesday about the decision.
"But if you told me at the beginning of the year that I’d get to play half the season and learn I’d say I’d take that deal 100%. I got a lot of good experience and mostly got to learn from one of the best dudes in the business.”
How Minshew can help the Jaguars moving forward while he is on the bench has been one of the most pressing questions surrounding the Jaguars since Foles was given back the job. As the Washington State University product said in the locker room Wednesday, he is simply going to do anything and everything asked of him.
“Anything I see I’m going to take it to him. Anything I think I can help with I’m going to do it," Minshew said. "And then if it’s anything in practice, throwing extra balls to guys, getting guys ready, helping any way I can, I’m going to do it.”
"I’m going to prepare the same way," Minshew continued. "Sunday’s will be a little different but every other day, doing everything I can to help us win and make myself better. "
This isn't Minshew's first rodeo in terms of being removed as a team's starter, either. It is the first time it has ever happened in these exact circumstances, but not the first time he ever has had to go from the field to the bench. Through the prior experience and the current situation, Minshew hopes it will help him continue to grow as a player and person.
“I did it my junior year at [East Carolina]," Minshew said. "I got named starter going into the season and halfway through the first game I got pulled and I didn’t get my role back for awhile. Through that, I learned a lot about myself, how to really lead, not just lead when it’s easy but lead when it’s hard.”
While Minshew was leading the Jaguars' offense for two months, Foles was still a constant in the team's quarterback room and on the sideline. He would pick Minshew's brain and offer support and guidance to the rookie as he got his first taste of life as an NFL quarterback, and Minshew said the things he learned from Foles were invaluable.
“I think the biggest thing he taught me was to be yourself. I think that’s one of the things he does so well," Minshew said about Foles. "He’s so genuine and I think guys see that and if you’re not like that people see through it.”
What else did Foles teach Minshew about the position and what it means to be a starting quarterback in the NFL? Plenty.
"Handling the job, everything that comes with it. When to get in and watch your film, how to progress through the week. How to manage dealing with y’all," Minshew told media.
"Seriously, about everything you can think of, even stuff that you don’t think of first off as quarterback [duties] but everything else you’ve got to handle. So he gave me a lot of good insight.”
Minshew obviously hopes this is just the beginning of his NFL story and not the highlighted chapter of it. And after performing for half of a season, he thinks he has done enough to show that he belongs.
“I think I proved I can be a guy in this league for a long, long time. I think they believe that," Minshew said. "And there is other things we’re going to get better at so the next time I do get this opportunity I’ll be ready and I’ll be better and we’re all going to progress together.”