Jaguars OC Jay Gruden Reviews Gardner Minshew's Progress in Camp Thus Far
There are countless storylines worth tracking among the Jacksonville Jaguars' roster during the early stages of training camp, but to say Gardner Minshew II isn't at the top of the priority would be disingenuous.
No position in sports is as important to wins and losses in each game as quarterback is. The Jaguars already knew their hopes to field a winning team in 2020 ultimately depended on Minshew, but they still have to see how he will answer the call.
So far, though, the Jaguars' coaching staff likes what it has seen in terms of progression from the second-year quarterback, particularly offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
“We mainly, like I said, we’re starting to install the meat and potatoes of our offense and Gardner’s been great," Gruden said during a video press conference on Wednesday.
A big key to Minshew's progress to this point in camp is how he meshed with Gruden during the virtual offseason. And while meetings over Microsoft Teams are far different than actually being on the practice and game field, there is still value from said meetings which has carried over to training camp so far.
"He’s had a good offseason. We had the virtual offseason so we got a little jump-start on it and then it carried over until we came back and started meeting here recently," Gruden said.
There is still a long way to go before the Jaguars know exactly how prepared Minshew is to succeed in 2020. But so far, Gruden and the team's brass have been able to get a feel for the way he has been able to lead, retain information, communicate and set an example. Gruden and company have also seen Minshew's work ethic as they continue to digest and expand the playbook.
"We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got a lot of situational work, a lot of protections to tie down; we’ve got formations, red zone, a lot of things still to tie down. I’ve been impressed with Gardner. He’s a hard worker," Gruden said.
"He’s willing to learn. He knows he’s got a long way to go. He’s got a huge upside and we’re excited to tap into that.”
What likely is helping Minshew's development to this point is the sheer amount of experience he was able to gain as a rookie. Despite being picked in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft for the sole purpose of serving as Nick Foles' backup, Minshew had to step onto the field early for the Jaguars due to an injury to Foles.
As a rookie, Minshew started 12 games and appeared in 14, completing 60.6% of his passes with 3,271 passing yards and 21 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He was able to see what life as a starting NFL quarterback is truly like week in and week out, and now Minshew will have to use that experience to help him unlock his ultimate potential.
"And now we have to develop our quarterbacks. Obviously Gardner [Minshew] played  games last year. He’s a good player. He’s developing," Gruden said.
"He’s an exciting player but I like the way he plays. He’s a very highly competitive young man and hopefully we’ll get something going for him that he’s comfortable with and likes."