John Reid, Florida Times-Union
Posted at 18h56 ET May 28, 2020 | Updated 19:01 ET May 28, 2020
SportsPulse: Mackenzie Salmon sits down with Jacksonville Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew. He talks about his future with the team, Nick Foles, and his favorite moment as a notch.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew said he has a lot to prove this season, as most pre-season predictions put the Jacksonville Jaguars in their third straight losing streak.
At the your first zoom call with reporters ThursdayGardner Minshew did not wear his usual headband.
But his mustache was thick and his beard too.
He didn't show as much intelligence as he used to do last season, but he greeted a reporter saying that it's good to see you, even if you don't have the camera, but that's cool.
The regular season is four months from the start, but there is already an expectation about Minshew's performance. He is now the undisputed leader. He is the quarterback of the franchise and does not need to share the representatives of the first team with anyone.
The Jaguars left Nick Foles for the Chicago Bears in March. And in April, they didn't select a high quarterback in the draft or acquire Cam Newton or Jameis Winston from a free agency.
They lagged behind Minshew, who shone enough as a rookie to defeat Bellows and went 6-6 as a starter in 2019. He provided Minshew Mania to a fan base in Jacksonville that is desperate to see more wins.
"It hasn't changed anything that I do," Minshew said of the Jaguars not having acquired a high-level new quarterback in the draft or a veteran with a free agency.
″ I spoke with (general manager) Dave Caldwell. I told him to do what he thinks is best for the team. I believe that I will give us the best chance of winning, no matter what. I just have to prove it every day. I'm excited about the opportunity to prove it. "
Watch LIVE as a defender @ GardnerMinshew5 meets with the media. https://t.co/LyjMyU97bk
– #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) May 28, 2020
Still, Las Vegas punters don't think the Jaguars will be better than last season, when they went 6–10. BetOnline has the Jaguars tied with the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants for the worst chances of winning the Super Bowl with 250-1.
According to the record 2020 projections by USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis, the Jaguars are expected to finish 3-13 and fourth at AFC South.
As one of the youngest teams in the league, with 67 players on its list of 90 players, with four years or less of experience, the Jaguars are also one of the favorite consensus at the beginning of achieving the No. 1 choice in the 2021 draft based on its projected history for this next season.
"I think you should put a chip on everyone's shoulder on our team to be counted that way," said Minshew. ″ I think we have a lot to prove that we are not what someone says about us. I think we are going to set those expectations for ourselves and not worry about what else someone has to say about us. "
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Gardner Minshew started 12 games for the Jaguars in 2019, playing for 3,271 yards and 21 TDs. (Photo: Reinhold Matay, USA TODAY Sports)
Because of COVID-19's precautions, the Jaguars' off-season voluntary program was only virtual. Minshew, however, spent part of the off-season working with his personal trainer, Ken Mastrole, in Naples.
Although Minshew came home to Brandon, Miss., He maintained his exercise routine because of his home gym. He was also able to play at his old school and at a local park that he said recently reopened.
After the season, Minshew gained about 10 pounds to reach 230, but said he is now between 222 to 225.
"I really emphasize what the best weight is so that I have as much strength as possible while maintaining the highest possible speed," said Minshew. ″ So discovering this has been a fun process. I had a lot of help. "
Minshew relied on Tyler Eifert and runner-up Chris Thompson to learn the ins and outs of Jay Gruden's offensive coordinator.
Eifert played for Gruden in 2013 with Cincinnati Bengals. Thompson was with Gruden from 2014 until last season, with the Washington Redskins.
Earlier this week, Gruden said it was his job to make sure his personality fit with Minshew, who had the highest passer score (91.2) among any of the seven novice quarterbacks who won games last season.
Minshew's 21 touchdowns and 3,271 yards were the best of a rookie in franchise history.
"He showed a skill set where he can sit in his pocket, step forward, make things happen out of his pocket," said Gruden. "He is accurate, he is tough and he is a great leader, so he has the intangibles you want in a quarterback. Now he needs to know the team, know a little about the offense so that we can all come together."
Follow Florida Times-Union's John Reid on Twitter @ JohnReid64.
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