Mark Brunell: Minshew will lead Jaguars to wins, but he needs help

By Mark Brunell - Sports Analyst

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars lost a heartbreaker on Sunday in a close game that was certainly within reach. 

Gardner Minshew threw a late touchdown, but a failed two-point conversion cost the Jaguars in a 13-12 loss to Houston.

Let's talk about the quarterback.

Minshew had some very good moments. For a rookie to drive the team in the final two minutes to give it a chance is impressive. 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. 

I honestly believe that our quarterback is going to get a few wins, maybe more, before Nick Foles comes back later in the season. For that to happen of course, a couple things must happen. 

We need to run the ball better and the offensive line has to be better in protection and run blocking. 

I want to be very clear. I really like Minshew. I’ve liked him since watching him and talking with him at the NFL combine. But as I listened to the talk radio shows after the game sing his praises and talk about how well he played, I have to disagree. 

The starting quarterback’s job is to win. You do that by scoring points. And 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.

Also, inaccurate throws downfield that would be game-changing completions hurt the team as well. 
Minshew was bad for more than three and a half quarters. Yes, his numbers were good, but all too often statistics do not tell the story. 

But it’s that last drive that gets us all excited. Me too. But if I’m being honest, there is a long way to go with this kid. Yes, we love him. I know I do. But there are no moral victories in the NFL. 

And it’s the quarterback’s job to take care of the ball and make the plays when they present themselves. We’ve seen Minshew do well when the team has been down the last two weeks. It seems that’s when he shines.

But you can’t make a living playing from behind in this league. Yes. It’s admirable when he drives the team at the finish. But most teams are too good to get beat when they are up in the game. I’m looking forward to seeing how Minshew plays when we have the lead.

Hopefully, that will happen Thursday when the Titans come to town. Go Jaguars!

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