JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gardner Minshew’s first stint as the Jaguars’ starting quarterback came about because of an injury to Nick Foles and expectations were cautiously optimistic, at best. This time, the scenario is completely different.
Minshew will start Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, and the rest of the season if all goes to plan, with 8 games as a starter under his belt and expectations that he can make plays and help to end the Jaguars’ four-game losing streak.
“It’s fun getting back to work with all of those guys,” Minshew said following Wednesday’s practice. “You miss that part, being in the huddle with those guys. It’s been a lot of fun working to get better.”
In his eight starts, Minshew completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,010 yards with 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He lost seven fumbles in those eight starts. But following a disastrous game in London against the Texans where Minshew threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles, Nick Foles returned from injury to reclaim the starting job. For three weeks, Minshew worked as the backup quarterback, only taking a few snaps with the starters as he tried to improve, even without game action as he watched how Foles went about his business.
“Learning how he operates. Not getting into the perfect play, but getting out of bad plays,” Minshew said. “Just seeing how he leads. I’m very appreciative of him. When you are out of that role, you can step back and see some details. That was very valuable for me.”
Minshew will be expected to take better care of the ball than he did, in particular. But that isn’ the main measurable that Minshew is looking to improve.
"I just want to win this game. Then we will reassess at the end of this game and see what we have to do this week.
In order to beat the Chargers, the Jaguars will have to keep Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram from disrupting the passing game. The duo has combined for 14 sacks this season.
“Were going to do some things schematically, try to get the ball out,” Minshew said. “Mix it up on them and not let them pin their ears back.”
To do that, the tackles will have to play better than they did Sunday against the Buccanneers. Both Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor struggled as the Bucs sacked Jaguars quarterbacks four times and pressured on numerous occasions.
“You just have to have a great week, watch a lot of film to see some tendencies,” Taylor said. “I like to see how they attack certain sets, down and distance.”