Gardner Minshew II Told Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell He Should Be Starting QB

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2020

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II (15) throws a pass in front of Indianapolis Colts defensive end Jabaal Sheard, right, during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Gardner Minshew II isn't shy about competition, but he thinks he's the best quarterback to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"I had conversations with [general manager] Dave Caldwell. I told him, 'Do what you think's best for this team. I believe that I'm going to give us the best chance to win no matter what,'" Minshew said, per Mike DiRocco of ESPN. "I've just got to prove that every day and I'm excited for the opportunity to be able to prove that."

The Jaguars appear set on Minshew opening the 2020 season as their starting quarterback. The Washington State product threw for 3,271 yards and 21 touchdowns against six interceptions in 14 games (12 starts) during his rookie season, taking over for an injured Nick Foles. Jacksonville traded Foles to the Chicago Bears this offseason to clear a path for Minshew.

Pro Football Focus gave Minshew the highest grade of any rookie quarterback, ahead of top overall pick Kyler Murray and first-round picks Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Daniel Jones.

However, Minshew's long-term grip on the job seems tenuous at best. The Jaguars have spent most of their offseason jettisoning veteran players like A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell, seemingly setting themselves up for a rebuild. With three strong quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL draft class, including Trevor Lawrence, it's easy to see Minshew as a stopgap.

Minshew told reporters he has other ideas:

"Being kind of counted out like that, I think we do have a lot to prove. We have to prove that we're not what anybody says about us. The only people whose opinions matter are who's in that huddle, who's on that team.

"I think we're going to set those expectations for ourselves and not worry about what anybody else has to say about us."

At the very least, Minshew has proved to be a capable NFL quarterback—a feat greater than most sixth-round picks ever accomplish. Even if he never develops into a superstar, he has a long career ahead of him as a low-end starter or quality backup. The Jaguars roster, as currently constructed, will not give him the best chance to show his peak abilities.