Jaguars' Gardner Minshew Reacts to The Return of One of His Favorite Targets
For James O'Shaughnessy, Wednesday was an important day. It marked his first time back on the practice field since he sustained a season-ending ACL injury in Week 5 (Oct. 6, 2019), and it reflected just how far he has come in his 10-month recovery.
Another player who had reason to cheer Wednesday? Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who was able to see one of his favorite targets from 2019 finally back on the grass.
“No, it’s huge man, I was so happy. I saw James today, came up and gave him a big hug," Minshew said during a video press conference on Wednesday. "Just ready, so excited for him coming back."
Last season, O'Shaughnessy was a frequent target for the rookie Minshew during the early starts of his Jaguars tenure. The two played with one another for fewer than five complete games, but O'Shaughnessy quickly developed into one of Minshew's favorite targets, especially in the red zone, an area where he caught two touchdowns in a three-game stretch.
"Through the part of the season before he got hurt last year, we really developed some chemistry. He caught some big balls for me," Minshew said Wednesday.
"And I’m just so happy for him personally. You know, to be back out here, I know the fight that he’s had, just trying to get ready for this. And to have him out there, it’s a lot of fun.”
O'Shaughnessy was Jacksonville's most productive tight end in 2019 despite playing in only a few games. He is the only tight end to have caught more than one touchdown, and he caught more touchdowns than all of the other team's tight ends combined. Overall, O'Shaughnessy led all Jaguars tight ends in receptions (14), receiving yards (153) and touchdown catches (two).
Getting O'Shaughnessy back on the field after he was removed from the team's Active/Physically Unable to Perform list on Wednesday was welcome news for the Jaguars' coaching staff in addition to Minshew. The Jaguars' staff knows just how impressive O'Shaughnessy was in his short season last year, and the hope is he can flourish even further in offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's offense.
Joining O'Shaughnessy in the tight end room will be eighth-year veteran Tyler Eifert, second-year player Josh Oliver and sixth-round rookie Tyler Davis. With O'Shaughnessy now back on the field, and on Minshew's radar when he breaks the huddle, the Jaguars now have their tight end position at full strength.