The Jaguars are not going to compete for a Super Bowl this year. They are not going to compete for a division title. They are not going to compete for a playoff spot. With that in mind, all that should matter in Urban Meyer’s first season as head coach, is developing his rookie quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. So, it makes sense that Meyer would not only want to give his franchise guy as much NFL playing time as possible, but also show how much confidence he has in Lawrence in his ability to lead an NFL offense. Therefore, giving Lawrence the starting job over former sixth-round selection Gardner Minshew makes sense.
Removing Minshew from the situation entirely? Okay, that pushes the envelope way too far.
All Gardner Minshew did in his season and a half as Jacksonville’s starter was throw 37 touchdowns with only 11 interceptions for a passer rating of 93.1. I know he’s only started 20 games in his career, but that TD-to-INT ratio is better than Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Deshaun Watson, Peyton Manning, and Steve Young. That passer rating is higher than Joe Montana, Ryan Tannehill, Matthew Stafford, and Andrew Luck. And yeah, I know it’s probably because of the system he was in, where his head coaches didn’t trust him to expand the field, so they devised a system where Minshew would only have to make one or two reads and would only have to look at half the field. Those types of systems, when executed well, are going to make any quarterback’s stats look good. Look no further than 2019 Jimmy Garoppolo or 2018 Jared Goff to prove my point. However, while those two quarterbacks I’ve mentioned still have opportunities to prove themselves worthy of a starting role in the NFL, Minshew is being relegated to backup duties already.
Earlier today, Minshew was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick.
You’re telling me that the numbers I just mentioned aren’t worth more than a potential fifth-round pick? You’re telling me that Minshew has just barely proven he’s worth more than the spot where he was drafted? That just seems disrespectful.
With Minshew heading to Philadelphia, maybe he will, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on the matter. The Eagles have made it abundantly clear that Jalen Hurts is their starting quarterback. With his flashes of greatness last season, improved play during the preseason, and second-round draft selection status, the Eagles would be ridiculous not to give Hurts the starting job. That being said, I strongly believe Minshew should compete for the gig should Hurts start to struggle in 2021.
With how weak the NFC East was in 2020, and with how little it’s expected to improve in 2021, the Eagles could find themselves in a decent position at around the season’s midway point. Do I expect them to compete for a playoff spot? No, but they will definitely give the teams in their division some tough contests, and could be a constant thorn in the sides of teams like Washington and Dallas. While I fully expect Jalen Hurts to play up to his expectations this year, should he fail to do so or go down with an injury, Minshew, at the very least, gives the Eagles a “good enough game manager” capable of not losing their team games.
Let’s be honest. When Minshew was the starter in Jacksonville, no one ever said, “The Jaguars could be great if they had a capable starting quarterback.” While Minshew definitely didn’t raise Jacksonville’s ceiling tremendously, the problems with the Jaguars’ roster ran way deeper than just a starting quarterback with a killer mustache. The Eagles aren’t much better off, and while they don’t have the same talent at receiver or halfback that the Jaguars had in 2020, they definitely have a better O-line. All I’m saying is that if Jalen Hurts throws for 32 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and 4,500 yards, we’d all be pretty impressed with his performance… oh wait. That’s what Minshew was on pace for in 2020...and, yeah, a large part of that was due to the fact that his team was down so often in the fourth. I get it. Even Blake Bortles had his one season with 4,400 yards and 35 TDs. But, let’s be real, Minshew is a quarterback far more capable of winning games than Bortles was.
Jacksonville has lost their insurance plan for Trevor Lawrence. They have lost someone who would’ve pushed Trevor Lawrence to better himself as the pair competed for the starting job. It’s not like his salary was so huge the Jags had to get rid of it. This move makes absolutely no sense.