Tanking for Trevor? Losing for Lawrence? No, says Gardner Minshew. The second-year signal-caller was efficient in the season opener. The magic is still there for the 2019 rookie sensation that took the league by storm. There is a lot of season left, but the Jacksonville Jaguars started on a positive note. Minshew wasn’t the only bright spot, though. Rookies C.J. Henderson, Laviska Shenault Jr., K’Lavon Chaisson, and James Robinson all showed flashes of brilliance. With the front office shipping off top-tier talent in the off-season, expectations are low this year. However, this young group showed on Sunday that they won’t go down quietly. They trailed for a good portion of the game but finished with a victory.
Gardner Minshew Leads the Jacksonville Jaguars to a Week One Victory
Gardner Minshew Still has the Magic
A big question heading into the 2020 season was how would Minshew do? Would his rookie success continue? If Week 1 was any indication, he’s picking up right where he left off in 2019.
The Jaguars played the Indianapolis Colts in their season finale at home last season. Minshew threw three touchdowns in a victory in that game. He also threw three touchdowns in a victory over the Colts in the season opener. Minshew finished the game 19 of 20 for 173 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He had just one incompletion. The incompletion was a drop. Minshew also ran with the ball five times for 19 yards. There was a third down play that Minshew took a sack that should have been a throw-away. But his game was mostly efficient. Minshew spread the ball around. He threw to 10 different receivers. Each touchdown pass was to a different receiver. He threw touchdown passes to D.J. Chark, Keelan Cole, and rookie Shenault Jr.
The Jaguars have a new-look offense in 2020. Though Minshew is still under center, the team has a new offensive coordinator in Jay Gruden. Part of that new look centers on creativity.
Shenault Jr. handled a direct snap play in which he had about a four-yard gain. Another rookie standout was the undrafted free agent James Robinson. Robinson was the next man up after the Jags got rid of Leonard Fournette and their running back room dealt with injuries. Robinson ran the ball 16 times for 62 yards and also logged one reception for 28 yards. As mentioned already, Chark, Cole, and Shenault Jr. all had receiving touchdowns. The rookie receiver out of Colorado could definitely become a swiss army knife for the Duval offense.
Jalen who? Henderson, the ninth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft had a strong rookie debut. He not only had an interception that led to a touchdown, but he had some heads up plays that showcased his tackling ability. The rookie finished the game with five tackles, three passes defended, and one interception.
Jacksonville has a new middle linebacker with Joe Schobert in town. He commanded the defense on Sunday and came away with eight total tackles and one for loss. With Shobert in the middle, Myles Jack will have a chance to shine in a position more natural for him. Jack is playing weakside linebacker now and he finished the game with 11 total tackles along with a sack.
Andrew Wingard is a second-year player and former roommate to Minshew. The safety ended a Colts drive late in the fourth quarter with an interception. It was a play that helped secure a victory for the young squad. Although the rookie defensive end Chaisson didn’t fill up the stat sheet on Sunday, he let his presence be known. If not for a penalty on the Jags defense, Chaisson would have walked away with an interception. Chaisson finished the game with two tackles.
A Good Start to the Season
Jacksonville fans will be elated this week. There’s definitely a lot of football left this season, but it may be an exciting one. The Jaguars trailed for much of the game. But they hung in there and got a win. It was a full team effort, too. Kicker Josh Lambo nailed two field goals in the win. Yes, this is a young team. They will undoubtedly make mistakes this year. But if the front office is tanking, you can bet they didn’t tell the players. These guys are hungry.