JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 01: Gardner Minshew #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on during … [+]
Can Gardner Minshew bring the magic back to Jacksonville?
“We feel with Gardner’s mobility and elusiveness, it can give us a better chance of winning with the way we’re playing right now,” Marrone explained to reporters in Jacksonville, FL. “Because we’re all not doing a good enough job, the coaches, and we just have to keep it going. So, that’s what we’re doing going forward right now.”
Can the Jaguars afford to keep Nick Foles as an $88 million backup?
With Minshew returning to the starter’s role, that means the team will sit Nick Foles who signed a four-year $88 million contract that includes a $25 million signing bonus, $50,125,000 guaranteed and an average annual salary of $22 million according to Spotrac.com.
“Whenever you make a decision like that, it’s not all on one guy. It’s not. I needed to coach better, we needed to play better. We needed to protect him better. We win and lose as a team,” offensive coordinator John DeFilippo told reporters this week. “I say that a lot, and we all needed to be better for Nick. I feel bad, we all feel bad for him. And no one’s given up on Nick Foles at quarterback. Every year is different. Every game’s different. It’s a tough situation on everybody. On Coach Marrone, on the staff, on players, the locker room. It’s tough on everybody and you don’t want to make those decisions. But it’s not all on one person.”
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 01: Nick Foles #7 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on during the … [+]
This season, Foles is earning a base salary of $5 million along with a signing bonus of $25 million, a roster bonus of $500,000 and a workout bonus of $250,000 also per Spotrac.com. Meanwhile, Minshew is in the first year of his four-year rookie deal worth $2,710,884 according to Spotrac.com. This year he is earning a base salary of $495,000 plus a signing bonus of $190,884 also, per Spotrac.com.
Despite the money differences, Minshew admits he has learned a lot from watching Foles over the last month.
“Just learning how [Nick Foles] operates. Making sure we’re – not getting in the perfect play, but really getting out of bad plays and some of the stuff like that,” Minshew said. “Anytime I get to see how he leads is a good thing, so I’m very appreciative for him and how he’s taught me so much.”
Can Minshew control the ball better against the Chargers?
Ball security is an area that Marrone believes Minshew can improve. The team worked this week on third down and red zone conversions so the effort has been made to help Minshew in that regard. With Minshew returning as a starter, there is hope that he will be able to spark the team’s offense that has struggled mightily this season. He will no doubt benefit from the extra practice the team has given him to continue his development as a quarterback.
“When we made the switch, we made sure that Gardner was going to take his reps on the scout team, but that’s dictated by what the other team does,” Marrone said. “But we wanted to do something at the end of practices, and on Thursday and Friday, we’d put stuff in there at the end of practice that we felt that he needed to get better on.”
The extra practice is something his offensive coordinator really valued.
“I thought that was a great idea by Coach Marrone,” DeFilippo added. “I know it only sounds like, that was eight reps a day, but that’s a decent amount of reps in an NFL practice, so I think he still homed in on his skills while he was number two.”
Minshew also appreciated the team giving him the extra repetitions as a backup and focusing on his development.
“Yeah it was big. You don’t get a lot of live reps at your own place when you’re the number two, so it was really cool for them to be able to do that for me and help me continue to get better,” Minshew said.
Can the Jaguars put their losing ways behind them and end this 4 game losing streak?
While the players and coaches are all playing for their jobs in these final four games of the season, they also desperately need to win in order to salvage any positive vibe from this season. Marrone is candid about what the future holds.
“The players have been fighting, focused, practicing well, and we just have to figure out a way to win games and get a good taste back in your mouth. It’s such a bad taste when things are going the way they are right now,” Marrone admitted. “You can’t control what’s going to happen afterwards, but you can control everything while you’re here, so I’m trying to make sure that we have a clear vision of what we have to do. We have a clear goal in what we want to accomplish and [to] be able to stand up and motivate and lead the coaches and this team every day.”
Meanwhile Minshew will take the same approach despite the team’s losing ways.
“I don’t think there’s any time in any point of the game where you’re out there and you’re thinking, ‘Oh, we don’t have anything to play for.’ I’m playing to beat the crap out of the guy across from me, and that doesn’t matter whether in practice, whether in games. I don’t need some kind of extra incentive to go out and compete. I think we have a lot of guys that think like that and we’re not going to mail it in just because we don’t have playoff expectations anymore.”
What looks are the Jaguars’ sporting for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleants Campaign?
On Giving Tuesday this week, 45 Jaguars players announced their individual causes for the league’s My Cause My Cleats campaign. Each pair of shoes tells a personal story from veteran Calais’ Campbell’s CRC Foundation, formed in honor of his father to help youngsters learn critical life skills, to rookie Joshua Dobb’s Girls Inc. of Tennessee, inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold. Each player worked with a handpicked artist to design the shoe.
“I partnered with ‘Movember’,” Minshew noted. “They’re kind of leading the way in awareness for men’s health. It’s mental health, cancer awareness, things of that sort and it’s a good partner to have.”
Minshew admitted it can be difficult for men to ask for help and that’s why he wants to bring attention to these issues by teaming up with Movember. The charity has invested more than $200 million in over 150 research projects to help tackle men’s health.
Many of the cleats the players wear this weekend will be donated to NFL auction to raise funds for these organizations.