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Mark Brunell: Don't be surprised anymore about Gardner Minshew

JACKSONVILLE, FLA – After the first half, I thought a comeback would be a challenge. And with about two minutes left in the fourth quarter, I thought it would be even more daunting to come back.

Each time, the Jaguars did it. 

The Jaguars won a 26-24 thriller Sunday against the Denver Broncos keeping their chances alive in the AFC South in a game that was all over the place just about from the start. They looked beaten. They came back. They led. They trailed. And they won with a walk-off field in a place that's never easy to win at. 

How odd was that game? 

This is a tough football team to figure out. We see inconsistencies week in and week out. Sometimes the defense is absolutely dominant. Other times, opposing offenses move right down the field.

Sometimes we can’t run the ball to save our lives. Sometimes we protect the young quarterback and other times he’s getting killed back there. Sometimes we run for over 50 yards, and others, Leonard Fournette turns in one of the best rushing performances in Jaguars history. 

I know its early. I know this is typical for most teams in the NFL. It can take the first four or five games to figure out who you are. At 2-2, I still don't think we know who the real Jaguars are. With back-to-back wins, I think this season has the potential to go in any direction. 

But there has been one consistent on this football team, and it has come from an unlikely place. The one thing we’ve been able to count on week to week has been the play of our sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew II. And to be honest, I’ve been surprised up to this point about how well he has played. 

Why? Because it just doesn’t happen. 

Tell me the last time a sixth-round quarterback has played the first four games of his career and did as well as No. 15 has. 

This is what our quarterback does well. He’s careful with the ball (only one interception in 15 full quarters of football, and that wasn’t even his fault). He’s accurate (73.9% completion percentage). He manages game situations and has big play ability. Sound like a rookie? No, it doesn’t. It sounds like the play of a quarterback who’s been playing in the NFL for a number of years. 

So, I’m switching gears. No longer will I be pleasantly surprised by Minshew’s success on the field. Why? Because he’s good. It’s that simple. Our quarterback is really playing well. That was the question mark entering this season. Quarterback.

We thought it would be Nick Foles leading an offensive charge. But an injury changed all of that and Minshew has responded to that challenge better than anyone could have expected. 

It hasn’t been perfect and there have been some bad plays, but that happens to every quarterback. I couldn’t be happier for Gardner Minshew. Going forward, I don’t know what to expect from this team.

But I do know the guy leading them is going to compete and do everything he can to win football games.


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