Jaguars OC John DeFilippo: ‘We Came Out in the Second Half and Executed Better and Did a Better Job’

John Shipley

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It is never easy on an offensive coordinator when there is a quarterback change. But luckily for Jaguars coordinator John DeFilippo, he wasn't heading into unfamiliar territory when Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone pulled Nick Foles for rookie Gardner Minshew II at halftime of the team's Week 13 28-11 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“Unfortunately we had to make the change first off, but fortunately, if you had to make the change, at least you had almost eight games with the guy that was coming in," DeFilippo said during his Thursday press conference at TIAA Bank Field.

Jacksonville's offense was a disaster in the first half of the Tampa Bay game, turning it over three times on the first three possessions (including two turnovers in the red-zone) and then going three-and-out on every other first half possession. 

Jacksonville didn't run through Tampa Bay with ease in the second half, but the offense was noticeably better once Minshew took the field. They scored twice (one touchdown, one field goal), and were a Dede Westbrook drop away from scoring another touchdown to make it 25-18 after being down 25-0 at halftime.

“I thought we executed better," DeFilippo said. "In the second half I just thought we got a little momentum going for whatever reason and we moved the ball a little bit better."

Jacksonville's offense struggled to move the ball consistently not just in the first half Sunday, but for the better part of the last month. In the second half of Sunday's game, though, it showed a noticeable uptick in tempo and energy.

"Part of tempo is getting first downs, and having offense, and being able to convert on third down and those things and getting a lot of plays," DeFilippo said. "And for whatever reason in the first half, like I said, it’s not all on one guy, we just didn’t do that. And we came out in the second half and executed better and did a better job."

In terms of styles, Minshew and Foles are near polar opposites. Foles is a pure pocket passer who has the veteran experience to read multiple coverages and know what the defense is throwing at him, while Minshew is more mobile, has a better ability to extend plays and has a quicker release. DeFilippo knows there is some risk and reward with Minshew, but it is a gamble worth taking.

"He’s going to try to fit the ball into tight windows. He is. He’s going to take a chance every now and then," DeFilippo said. "When you talk about taking chances, the thing I am pleased about, a lot of things he’s grown in is he’s protecting himself better when he runs. I think he’s getting down, those things that we stressed early. I thought he was taking way too many shots early that were unneeded. You only have so many chinks in your armor and so you have to protect yourself. But I think Gardner’s confidence in himself allows him to have trust in himself and his teammates, and Gardner has tremendous trust in the people around him. He has tremendous trust in his coaches, and so does Nick and [the] players. He just loves playing football."

It was announced Monday that Minshew would be the team's starting quarterback moving forward as the 4-8 Jaguars try to find some positives at the end of what has been a disappointing 2019. Minshew will get a chance to show what his time on the bench has done for him this Sunday as the Jaguars host the Los Angeles Chargers.