Before Gardner Minshew put his nose to the grindstone this offseason to develop ability to lead the Jaguars on and off the field as the starting quarterback, he took his jorts, mustache, and experiences across the country in what can only be described as the offseason's most interesting RV trip.
The multi-week RV trip featured Minshew departing from TIAA Bank Field shortly after his rookie season ended. The rookie sensation who won six games and threw 21 touchdowns in 2019 wanted to not only rewind after a long and grueling season, he wanted to see and experience more things than he ever had before.
“So if you’re anywhere between Jacksonville and L.A. I want to hear from you,” Minshew said at the start of his trip. “Places to see, anything for free, food to eat, people to meet. Hopefully I see y’all out there on the road."
What followed next was nothing short of a jam-packed month for the man who would eventually be chosen as the team's next starting quarterback. He went hunting, soaked in the beauty that is the Grand Canyon, ventured into the sky and much, much more.
"Started today with a hike through the Grand Canyon. In the last 14 days we have been lucky enough to spend time in Brandon, MS//Ruston, LA//Hallsville, TX//Austin, TX//Odessa, TX//Ship Rock, NM//Telluride, CO//Flagstaff, AZ//Las Vegas, NV//Joshua Tree, CA//Newport Beach, CA// Scottsdale, AZ//Grand Canyon, Arizona// and we’re currently passing through New Mexico headed home," Minshew wrote near the conclusion of the trip.
After the trip, Minshew hit the training field and worked nearly every day of the weak to improve upon his physical and mental skills to ensure he can lead the Jaguars in the right direction in 2020. But before Minshew got to work, it was important to him to be able to take a step back following a roller-coaster rookie season.
"I think it’s a good way because if I’m just at home or if I’m anywhere else I’m going to get right back into training as soon as the season ends because that’s just how I am but it’s good to be able to step back a little bit and kind of distance yourself from everything," Minshew told local media in a video conference on Thursday.
The best part of Minshew's time away from the football field? The time he spent literally the furthest away from it.
“The most exciting part was definitely flying with the Air Force Thunderbirds. Got up, went and did their whole program, all the flips, turns, all that, G-Forces, it was a blast and just getting to learn how they operate as a team. It was a great experience," Minshew said. "We got to see so much of the country in really about three weeks, or a little less even. So, it’s something I definitely hope to do again."
Whenever football does return, the Jaguars will be relying on Minshew to lead an offense that is transitioning to a new offensive scheme under first-year coordinator Jay Gruden. For the next eight to nine months, Minshew will be one of the most important pieces to a team looking to find positive momentum.
But what about after that? Who knows. Minshew will assuredly work hard off the field through another rigorous offseason of training, but perhaps another RV trip could be in the cards before then.
“We’ll see. I definitely would not be opposed. I think it was a lot of fun. It was a blast and I definitely could do it again," Minshew said.