Mark Brunell: Loss to Titans stings, but showcases potential of Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If there’s such a thing as a moral victory, this was it.

I know those don’t count, but there is something to be said about moral victories and what they can do for a locker room going forward. No one, myself included, gave the Jaguars a shot to beat Tennessee on the road Sunday.

They lost 33-30 in a game that you know the Jaguars probably should have won.

We’ve heard it throughout the offseason. People don’t expect much of anything out of the Jaguars. But Jacksonville went toe-to-toe with the Titans, a team that played in the AFC championship game last season and gave them everything they could handle. To me, that says that this team is a bit farther along in the growth process than most expected them to be.

I know Gardner Minshew II didn’t have the best game of his career (he didn’t lead a game-winning drive), but he has what every quarterback needs and that’s a short-term memory. I mentioned last week about his command of the pocket and staying in there more. This week, I’m talking about his mental development.

Even after the first quarter when the Jaguars were struggling, Minshew just forgets about the bad plays. As a quarterback in this league you need to have amnesia. He does. Minshew forgets the bad and plays on. He had some really nice throws against Tennessee after some rough plays early. A quarterback who can forget about a a ball that was tipped and intercepted or a quarterback who takes a sack for a loss of 20 and comes back is a guy I want leading the team.

Minshew has started 14 games in his NFL career and he’s 7-7 in those games.

Playing the Titans, you know you’ve got to stop Derrick Henry. I don’t know if you ever really stop Derrick Henry, but they certainly neutralized him (25 carries, 84 yards). That was one game plan that Jacksonville executed well on defense.

I think a game like this, even though the Jaguars came up a little short, shows me that the Jaguars have the potential to go head to head with any team in the NFL. I’m not surprised that they lost. I don’t think anyone expected them to win. But I am very excited that they played as well as they did in a place that they never play well at.