New Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden knows the most important task he faces in Jacksonville is developing a strong relationship and rapport with second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew.
Following the trade if Nick Foles to Chicago this offseason, the reins of the Jaguars’ offense have been handed over in full to Minshew.
Minshew has a promising rookie campaign in relief of an injured Foles that saw flashes of brilliance and the inevitable growing pains as well. Now Minshew is having to learn a new offense with a new offensive coordinator and do so without being able to go over plays in person or walk through them with teammates on a practice field. Nevertheless, Gruden knows that making sure their relationship is the best it can be will be vital to the team’s 2020 season.
“It’s my job to make it mesh, to take on the personality of our quarterback – and for him to understand what we’re trying to get accomplished on play-to-play, game-to-game, week-to-week basis is going to be critical,” Gruden said on Tuesday, via the team’s website.
Minshew appeared in 14 games with 12 starts as a rookie for Jacksonville. He threw for 3,271 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions with the Jaguars going 6-6 in his 12 starts. He completed just over 60 percent of his passed and posted a passer rating of 91.2. Coming from Mike Leach’s somewhat elementary spread offense at Washington State, Minshew had to adapt quickly to the pro game and saw immediate action with Foles being injured in the season opener. He managed to rise to the occasion and earned a chance to be the full-time option this fall.
“Gardner’s competitive spirit, you can see it shine through on tape – when he was in college and obviously last year when he got to play the games he got to play,” Gruden said. “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.
“He’s shown a skill set where he can sit in the pocket and step up and make things happen outside the pocket. He’s accurate. He’s tough. He’s a great leader. He has the intangibles you want as a quarterback. Now, it’s just getting to know the scheme and the offense a little bit and we all have to gel together.”