JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – National predictions are calling for the Jaguars to finish with the worst record in the NFL this year. On Tuesday night’s virtual edition of the Mark Brunell Show, Brunell told News4Jax Insiders that in the locker room, the low expectations can be used to pull the team together.
"Dave Caldwell said earlier, ‘Listen, I like this team. Just let us get to the games.’ Let’s allow the team to get to the game to see what they’re all about,” Brunell said. “Listen, my expectations--not gonna lie--they are really low. But we’ve been surprised before we were surprised in ’96. We were surprised in 2017. Let’s get to the game to see what these guys are about.
"I think there is something to this team. I’ve been on teams where everyone outside the building was talking about how bad we were going to be. Guys like me saying, ‘Oh, my expectations are low and I don’t expect them to win four maybe five games.’ And trust me, the players they know what’s being said out there. They know what’s being talked about and how most people view his team locally and nationally. But what that can do for a team is it could be beneficial. Because when everyone says that your team can’t, it can galvanize a team. It could bring a bunch of guys together. It’s the stuff that team meetings are made for. I promise you before they take the field on Sunday, they will have a team meeting and someone in there will step up and say, ‘Listen, nobody gives us a chance.’ It will just go on and on and on.
“And you know what, what that’s going to do? It’s going to motivate the players. I’ve been in so many of those types of meetings. And when people say you can’t do something, you want to prove them wrong.”
Brunell also discussed the key to the Jaguars' season, the play of quarterback Gardner Minshew. While some believe the Jaguars are tanking for a high draft pick next April, Brunell says that the season rests on Minshew’s shoulders.
“A lot of people are calling it tanking," Brunell said. "I don’t think there’s tanking going on. Players don’t tank. Coaches don’t tank. But I think it’s fair to call it a reset or a rebuild. And I liked what you said, calling it laying a foundation on which to build in the future. Obviously, there’s a lot of draft picks or some very, very good football players, young football players on that team that you could build around.
“I think the real question--the most interesting thing that plays out this season, to me, is how Gardner Minshew does. He very well could be the quarterback for the next 10 or 12 years he could. He could be on another team for roster next year. Just we don’t know we saw glimpses last year. Every young quarterback, for the most part, shows glimpses. He’s got that ‘it’ factor. We’ve talked about it. He’s a hard worker. The players have embraced him. He’s exciting, he runs around a little bit and makes plays. That will absolutely be the key to 2020. Gardner Minshew can improve from last year. They’re gonna win some games. If he does it, it’s going to be very much like most people are predicting, three wins, four wins, maybe five wins. So I think that’s the key factor going forward this year is that is the play of our quarterback.”
The Mark Brunell Show will return to the airwaves at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15 on CW-17. Thereafter, the show will air on Monday night’s during the football season.