JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars may have come up short on Sunday against the Houston Texans, but it was arguably another solid performance by rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, who many believe will only improve as the season moves forward.
The game against the Texans was a heartbreaker. Minshew gave the Jaguars a chance at a win late in the game.
As News4Jax sports editor Justin Barney put it, "It came up a yard short." Houston denied the Jags a chance at pulling ahead by just a point in the final 30 seconds of the game when they attempted a two-point conversion after a late touchdown.
News4Jax Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell is a fan of Minshew, but pointed out there's plenty of room for improvement.
"In the NFL, 12 points isn’t going to do it. You know what else isn’t going to do it? Fumbling three times, with one of those leading to a Houston touchdown," Brunell said.
Still, there were some very strong moments during the game.
"For a rookie to drive the team in the final two minutes to give it a chance is impressive," Brunell said. "There is no quit in this kid. He’s competitive. He’s tough, and he is certainly going to get better as the season progresses."
Minshew joined Myles Jack on The Mark Brunell Show on Monday night. He recalled the moment he was sent in to lead the team during Week 1.
"It was crazy, you know. You always go in preparing to play, thinking, 'Hey, I might play.' But then Nick (Foles) goes down and like, oh wait, now I'm playing," Minshew said. "Just going in, trying to give us the best chance I can to win and trying to get better each week."
Jack said watching Minshew lead the team has been "truly inspiring."
"Just to see him go out there, giving everything he's got, we understand, you know, he's young, he's figuring things out, but at the end of the day he's giving us a chance," Jack said. "We feel like he can get the job done and on Sunday we saw that. He's more than capable of doing what he's supposed to do."
It's no secret Thursday night's game versus the Tennessee Titans would be a much-needed win for the Jaguars, and it's something Minshew is looking forward to.
"Short week so all your prep is condensed, so you've really got to cram it in. But you also want to be where you can be relaxed and still go out and play ball," Minshew said. "That's one thing we're working towards. We're going to be running our plays, the stuff we feel great about, we've ran a million times since camp, so we're going to be feeling good about it."
He's keeping the mustache by the way.
"It's here to stay," Minshew joked. "I don't even call the shots anymore. It calls the shots."
One-on-one with Mark Brunell
As mentioned above, it's no secret Mark Brunell is a Minshew fan, calling the quarterback "a player that is only going to get better." During The Mark Brunell Show, Brunell and Minshew had a chance to speak one-on-one.
Brunell: "Six months ago I met you for the first time at the NFL Combine. It's safe to say a lot has happened since then. How have you been able to wrap your head around going from a guy that was hoping to get drafted, in all likelihood would be a late draft pick, maybe a free agent. You're starting for the Jacksonville Jaguars. What has all that meant to you?"
Minshew: "God is good. God is good, there's no doubt about that. I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be. I'm in a situation with a lot of great guys around me, and I'm going to have a lot of fun with it."
Brunell: "You clearly have it. You have the personality, a charisma about you that draws people to you. Has that always been Gardner Minshew from a young kid or has that developed throughout your career?"
Minshew: "I think it's definitely one of those things, part of it you're absolutely born with it, but I think I've had a unique kind of experience as far as going to four different colleges, taking the road I took, you know, allowed me to grow and a lot of confidence about myself, and I think that when you're confident about yourself that lets people be confident in you as well."
Brunell: "Who are your go to guys in the locker room who have kind of taken you under their wing and have really given you some good advice?"
Minshew: "Nick (Foles) obviously first off. He's, I mean, a first-rate awesome person. As good as he is at football, he's a better person. He's been awesome to work with. And then, once I step in the huddle, Brandon Linder. He's been my right-hand guy, making sure I feel comfortable, letting me know that he's confident and me and that just lets me go out and play and that's been a lot of fun."
Brunell: "Is there a quarterback out there or somebody that you watched growing up that you model your game after?"
Minshew: "I'd say first off you've got to be your own guy, but I think Brees obviously, you know, being a smaller guy and kinda took similar paths ... he's a guy I've always watched and I love watching."
Brunell: "Let's go to yesterday (Sunday). You get into that fourth quarter, the game is on the line, really you're kind of running out of time, you've got about three or four minutes left. What is Gardner Minshew's mindset knowing that the team is counting on you?
Minshew: "As a quarterback you want to be that guy that guys look to when the game is on the line. I think that's something I kind of hang my hat on. When times get tough, I think your game just steps up a bit. Hopefully we can get into that a little bit earlier in the game but that's always fun in the fourth quarter.
Brunell: "What did you learn from yesterday (Sunday)?
Minshew: "Got to protect the ball better. Got to hold onto the ball, and we can't get in our own way. Penalties, turnovers those things we can't do. If we don't stop ourselves we can be really, really good.