Mark Brunell: Minshew needs real football reps to take the next step

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This time of year, the Jaguars would be on the field during offseason practices. But so far, they have not had that opportunity because of the global pandemic.

But that doesn’t mean some players aren’t working to get better. News4Jax sports anchor Cole Pepper spoke with News4Jax sports analyst Mark Brunell about Gardner Minshew’s offseason activities.

We’ve seen videos on social media of Minshew working out and practicing during the pandemic. Those are good signs, Brunell said. They point to one important trait about Minshew.

“I love seeing it. It showed me a few things. One, that the game, obviously, is important to him, he's putting in the time he's doing the extra he's getting ready. He was going pretty hard. And it wasn't like he was just, you know, tossing the ball around a little bit. He was really working we just saw a portion of it,” Brunell said.

That all being said, Minshew and the rest of the Jaguars haven’t been able to practice together. They haven’t been able to learn the new offense out on the field. And, Brunell said, nothing can replace that kind of time together.

“That's one thing about Gardner Minshew, I don't think it's going to surprise anybody that he is going to put the time and he cares about it. He wants to be great,” Brunell said. “There wasn't a defense. There was no pass rush. He wasn't going to throw an interception. He wasn't going to get hit. And being in those environments, that's what will help him the most.

“That's where this you know this pandemic is really going to hurt a player like Gardner Minshew because he has not been in that situation where there is a pass rush. Not that he's going to get hit in OTAs or mini camp.

“There are defenders there is a defense to read. There are things you learn for when you do throw a mistake on the football field. That is what Gardner makes you need the most in this offseason he's not going to get it.”

Brunell likes a lot of what he sees out of Minshew, but knows he has to have the opportunity to get better.

“The work ethic is there. The intangibles, the leadership, the ‘it’ factor. All of that is right there,” Brunell said. “But for him to take the step, he needs football. He knows he needs real, live football. And until he gets that, it's really hard to take that big step.”

For now, no on-field days are scheduled for the Jaguars or any other NFL team, but that could change in the coming days.

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