From the moment Trevor Lawrence was drafted to the Jacksonville Jaguars—and for that matter, the moment the New York Jets defeated the Los Angeles Rams—it’s been a given that Lawrence was being brought in to be the future franchise quarterback. So, it’s also nearly a given he’ll be the starting quarterback this fall.
The ability to work through the offseason and training camp knowing Lawrence will be the guy provides stability for a franchise which has had little over the past couple of years. It allows the offense to work in one direction and coaches to make a game plan with one guy in mind.
It can also make things, well, interesting with the guy he’s essentially coming in to replace.
When Gardner Minshew was drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Jaguars weren’t planning on him becoming a long-term starter; much less an immediate starter. But after Nick Foles was injured in the first half of the first game of the season, the team was put on Minshew’s shoulder. He went 6-6 as a starter, sprinkling Minshew Magic on Jacksonville and forced the club to rethink their quarterback plans heading into the 2020 season.
Minshew returned as the starter last season, but a broken thumb sidelined him at the mid-way point of the season. He spent the last quarter of the scheduled playing musical quarterbacks with rookie Jake Luton and veteran Mike Glennon. Any plans to build this team around Minshew were lost the moment he was benched; then solidified the moment the Jets won the late December game, giving the Jaguars the first overall pick.
The Jaguars' future being built around Trevor Lawrence is less indicative of Gardner Minshew’s potential and more so because of Lawrence’s generational potential. Still, after spending time as one of only 32 starters in the NFL, it can be a bitter pill to swallow, standing on the practice field every day and handing reps to the guy you know is your replacement.
As a freshman in college, on a path to winning the National Championship, Lawrence shared the spotlight with Minshew. The latter was lighting up defenses on the West Coast, on his own path to a record. As the Washington State quarterback, Minshew put up 4,779 yards in his final season. That was a stat only passed by—ironically—the quarterback coached by Urban Meyer that year; Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State.
Lawrence said, "I definitely remember watching that,” as Minshew set passing records and led the country in yards per game (367.6). Now the duo are making the best of an otherwise awkward situation, according to Lawrence.
“It’s been great,” Lawrence said to reporters on Monday. “Both of us are obviously trying to be the best player we can be and try to do whatever we can to help this team. From that standpoint, I think we’ve been great working together.”
The Jaguars have been extremely cautious with Lawrence. The former Clemson Tiger Heisman finalist underwent labrum surgery on his left shoulder in February. He has also experienced some hamstring tightness over the last week. Given the significant investment the club is making in Lawrence, coaches have elected to be careful with the QB.
As such, Minshew has been receiving reps that would have otherwise gone to Lawrence. Since the rookie passer hasn’t had as much time to acclimate himself with his new teammates, he’s relying on Minshew for insight.
“We’ve been supportive,” continued Lawrence. “If he sees something, he’s going to communicate it to me and vice versa, so I think we’ve worked well together. It hasn’t been an issue at all. I don’t expect it to be. That’s something that I pride myself on is just being a good teammate and being able to work with people”