Any hope the Jacksonville Jaguars have at competing in 2020 will likely come down to how quarterback Gardner Minshew II plays in his second season.
New offensive coordinator Jay Gruden knows that.
"Well, it better mesh. It's my job to make it mesh, you know, to take on the personality of the quarterback and get him to understand what we're trying to get accomplished on the play-to-play, game-to-game, week-to-week basis, it's going to be critical. I love Gardner's competitive spirit. You could see it shine through on tape when he was in college and obviously last year in the games he got to play. Now it's just a matter of him getting some general knowledge of our offense and me figuring out what he likes, what he doesn't like, what makes him tick and go from there. I'm pretty easy to get along with, I know he is too, so I think it will be a great relationship between the two of us."
Gruden didn't exactly inspire confidence in his ability to handle a young quarterback last year in Washington when he didn't give the starting job to rookie signal-caller Dwayne Haskins, threw him into the fourth game of the year during the second quarter without even halftime to prepare and then kept him on the bench for the fifth game.
The result was an 0-5 start before Gruden was fired.
He was just 35-49-1 during his five-plus seasons in Washington, but he helped lead the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs for three straight years as the offensive coordinator from 2011 through 2013.
What's more, Andy Dalton impressed in 2013 before Gruden took the Washington job, completing 62.9 percent of his passes for 4,293 yards and 33 touchdowns, which are both career-high marks.
Minshew was just a sixth-round draft pick out of Washington State, but he is the quarterback of the present and future for the Jaguars at this point after a rookie campaign that saw him throw for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Whether Gruden can do the same thing for the second-year pro that he did for Dalton could determine the immediate and long-term future of the Jaguars.