Gardner Minshew II has become the Jaguars’ starting quarterback, to the delight of Jacksonville fans everywhere. So why does it feel like the Jaguars are trying to find an upgrade over Minshew for 2020?
“I think probably because he was a bit of an unknown commodity,” G.M. Dave Caldwell recently said on the #PFTPM podcast. “He was a sixth-round pick. He didn’t have the name recognition of being a first-round pick or maybe the team didn’t invest in him like other first-round picks or get the benefit of the doubt. But he was rookie of the week seven times last year, so I think that was the most out of any rookie and definitely the most out of any rookie quarterback but [he] wasn’t even on the rookie of the year ballot, which was interesting. So I think that how he got here and the way people maybe perceive him because he was a sixth-round pick they think we have a wandering eye. With that being said we’re always about competition and getting the best people here, so we do need depth at that position and to bring in other guys.”
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone has said that the team may bring in a veteran quarterback. Caldwell was asked whether the veteran would be there to serve as a backup to Minshew or to push him and to challenge him and maybe to supplant him.
“I think you always want someone there to push and challenge him and also for security and to be able to sleep at night because as we all know we learned last year you’re eleven or twelve plays away from losing your starting quarterback for a large portion of time,” Caldwell said. “So last year we went into the season and Nick Foles got injured eleven plays into the first game of the season and that’s where kind of the Minshew Mania took off from there, so you always want to have some type of depth at that position, someone to come in and push the starter. Gardner doesn’t need anybody to push him. He is incredible, he’s got incredible desire to compete at the highest level, and I think his teammates see that and they feed off that.”
To the extent the Jaguars are currently looking for a veteran quarterback, it’s natural to ask why they didn’t keep Nick Foles to serve in that capacity.
“I think with Nick’s situation is we weren’t looking to move him,” Caldwell said. “We were looking to keep him, and then there were a handful of teams that were interested in him and we felt that his value and if we were going to start him, we thought enough of Gardner to name him the starter or at least to compete with Nick to be a starter, and then if we could get a good-value draft pick, which we did out of Chicago, and get out from underneath the contract, we just felt like it was the best thing to do for the team.”
The team now has Minshew and Josh Dobbs atop the depth chart. It remains to be seen whether they end up with another quarterback. But they definitely are looking; Caldwell acknowledged that Andy Dalton landed on their radar before he signed with the Cowboys.
“We did have some discussions with his agent and him and I guess I’ll leave it at that,” Caldwell said.
Other veterans are or will become available. Who the Jaguars sign, and what the Jaguars pay him, will go a long way toward letting everyone know whether the veteran is the backup in Jacksonville or the potential starter.