On Monday, the Jaguars made the decision to roll with Gardner Minshew for the rest of the season. The rookie sixth-round pick has had some fantastic performances this season, despite being put in less than favorable conditions.
While it's exciting to see what the kid can do over the final four games of 2019, expectations should be tempered. No matter how well Minshew plays, this Jaguars' offense won't find life unless the pieces around him start to perform at a much higher level. Sure, his legs, decision-making ability, and accuracy will help the offense. But this team needs to fix a plethora of issues to have a semi-functional offense.
Mental mistakes have been the biggest catalyst for the Jaguars' offensive regression over the last four weeks. Offensive penalties have crushed drives time and time again. Offensive holding has been the biggest drive killer for the Jaguars. They lead the league with 25 holding penalties on offense. The Jags have also been highly susceptible to false starts with 17 on the season. Even if Minshew plays his ass off over the next four weeks, the Jaguars' offensive line will need to cut out many of the mental mistakes that have plagued them over the course of the season.
Some of the Jaguars' receiving threats will also need to step up. Outside of DJ Chark and Leonard Fournette, the Jags' receivers have underwhelmed in 2019. For Gardner Minshew to unlock his potential, he'll need his receivers to get open and make plays on the ball.
And of course, perhaps the biggest hurdle is the offensive line play. More often than not, they've been the culprit when it comes to offensive penalties. But even when this group isn't drawing false starts or holds, they get beat with regularity. The combination of Cam Robinson, Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, AJ Cann, Will Richardson, and Jawaan Taylor has allowed 150 pressures so far this year. Translation = the Jaguars' offensive line has been responsible for an average of 12.5 pressures allowed per game this season. For a group comprised of two second-round picks (Cam Robinson - 2017, Jawaan Taylor - 2019), and two of the highest-paid players at their respective positions (Brandon Linder, Andrew Norwell), there's simply no excuse for the poor play.
The players around Gardner Minshew MUST play better to finish the season. If not, Gardner Minshew has little hope of showing his potential and thus having the inside track at starting for the Jaguars in 2020.
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