The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a shortened and warped offseason for NFL players. That experience has been especially hard for young players still trying to make their mark in the league. As a second-year player who will is expected to carry the team’s offense, COVID-19 and the lack of offseason should be a nightmare for Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew.
However, according to Minshew, a shortened offseason is nothing new (via ESPN’s Michael DiRocco):
“When I was at Washington State, this was kind of the similar thing because I wasn’t there for the spring, so I had to a lot of it on my own, as well, but we’ve been fortunate … We’re meeting everyday with [quarterbacks] coach [Ben] McAdoo, coach Gruden and the other guys in the QB room, and we’re all just helping each other and getting as good of work as we can, and I think you have to take ownership on our own as well.”
A grad-transfer from Eastern Carolina, Minshew missed Spring practice when he arrived at Pullman. Nonetheless, Minshew’s skill, leadership and work ethic led to him earning the starting job and becoming a bona fide star at Washington State.
No one is more aware of Minshew’s ability to learn and adapt than former WSU head coach Mike Leach. He said:
“His path [to this point] was a rough path and it was one where he had to adjust … There’s not many people in the NFL that have been a part of more offenses than Gardner Minshew. He’s an adapter, and he’s skilled at it, and he’s trained at it. All that is going to play into his favor to put his best foot forward.
Leach also described how quickly Minshew learned his offense:
“Amazed might be a little strong, but I was impressed … The only thing that holds it back from the word amazed is he worked incredibly, incredibly, incredibly hard. He was crazy-focused.”
Minshew was one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 NFL season when the sixth-round pick broke out and started 12 games as a rookie. In 14 total games played for the Jaguars, Minshew completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. Minshew also added 344 yards on the ground.
Minshew went 6-6 as the team’s starter but despite his success, many expect Jacksonville to be one of the worst teams in the league next season and pursue Clemson star Trevor Lawrence in next year’s draft.