Connect with us

Jacksonville Jaguars

“Uncle Rico” Minshew’s subtle genius

Jason Cole

Published

on

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The frenzied plays are marvelous. The game-winning drive to cap a stunning second half was unforgettable. Yet, the play that made Jacksonville’s last-second, 26-24 victory over Denver possible was so subtle most people probably didn’t even notice.

As Gardner Minshew set up from the Jacksonville 7-yard line with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter, trailing 17-13 with the Denver defense looking to gain control of the game, he stepped toward the line and communicated with his offense linemen.

He also communicated with running back Leonard Fournette, who pointed right where he was about to run. And run. And run. After Minshew communicated with his line, Fournette took a handoff and rumbled 81 yards for a gain that completely changed the momentum of the game.

Two plays later, Minshew added another one of his highlights with an 18-yard touchdown pass that gave Jacksonville the lead after it had been so thoroughly dominated in the first half.

In that first half, Minshew seemed to return to reality, looking like the young-and-limited passer most scouts thought he was coming out of Washington State. In third quarter, “Uncle Rico” stared down the Broncos and threw the ball over the Rocky Mountains.

Or something like that.

Minshew’s frenetic style of scrambling within the pocket and sometimes outside of it has made him a cult hero in Jacksonville and around the NFL. When combined with his ridiculously awesome mustache, Minshew looks exactly like a character from a Will Ferrell movie. He could be the lead for Boogie Nights: The Comedy.

It’s completely nuts to watch.

But within all of that, there is genius. The audible or check or communication – whatever that was in the third quarter – was perfect and changed the game. Even the two crazy scrambles he had on the 16-play, 10-minute touchdown drive Jacksonville had to open the second half are a result of something most people don’t notice about great passers.

On both of those scrambles, Minshew kept his eyes downfield, refusing to give in to the pressure around him. Where so many young quarterbacks start looking around for where the pass rushers are, the way you really survive in football is to keep looking for a receiver. All the great passers do that, whether it’s Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Dan Marino way back when.

Minshew has that quality and it’s not something that can be taught. If it could, Denver fans might still be cheering for Paxton Lynch instead of hoping that Joe Flacco can keep them afloat until Drew Lock is ready.

As for Jacksonville, the Jaguars continue to have hope because they have a backup quarterback who seemingly has enough ability to get them through a stretch until Nick Foles is ready to play. To expect much more of Minshew is a bit unfair. As the first half in Denver showed, there are limitations to his game.

As much fun as the crazy scrambles are to watch, that’s not exactly a long-term plan for success. The Jaguars are 2-2 and tied for first place in a division where no team is likely to break from the pack. If Minshew can keep them at .500, that could be enough.

It would be, like Sunday, a subtle victory.

Jason Cole is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector who has covered the NFL since 1992. He has worked for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, The Miami Herald, Yahoo Sports! and Bleacher Report. He is the author or co-author of six books, including Giant with Plaxico Burress and Heart for the Game with Simon Keith.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars hire former Redskins coach Gruden as OC

Florida Football Insiders

Published

on

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for the Jaguars to come up with a new offensive coordinator and it will be a very familiar name to fans of the NFL and in specific, in Florida. Former Redskins coach and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has been hired buy coach Doug Marrone to assume play-calling duties.

NFL Network insiders Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport had the news first on Tuesday night, that the Jags had settled on the Redskins coach who was fired during his sixth season back in October:

Gruden, the younger brother of Raiders coach Jon Gruden, was fired in October after the Skins 0-5 start and while in his sixth season in Washington. He mostly struggled for the Redskins to have success with a 35-49-1 overall record. However, they won the NFC East in Gruden’s second year (2015) with a 9-7 record, but were beaten at home in the Wildcard Weekend by the Green Bay Packers.

Gruden worked his way up to his first head coaching job after having been the offensive coordinator for Marvin Lewis for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he worked with quarterback Andy Dalton and spectacular WR A.J. Green and his final year (2013), the Bengals were 6th in overall offense and fifth in scoring.

The Jaguars had also reportedly interviewed former Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, and had also been considering former Cowboys and Rams offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, for their vacancy. Coach Doug Marrone fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season last week.

While the team termed it “mutually parting ways,” DeFilippo was quickly hired by the Chicago Bears last Wednesday, as a quarterback coach. And, obviously going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a QB coach is not a lateral move.

Back to Jay Gruden. He is best known in our state for having been outstanding Arena Football League quarterback leading both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators franchises to Arena Bowl Championships.

Later his career Gruden was a player coach for the Orlando franchise, while also working during the NFL seasons in the fall as an offensive assistant under brother with the Buccaneers, including their 2002 Super Bowl win.

Continue Reading

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars interviewing former Redskins coach Jay Gruden for OC

Florida Football Insiders

Published

on

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars continue to look for a new offensive coordinator in an interesting name with Florida connections has emerged.

Fox Sports NFL Insider Mike Garafolo reported on Sunday that former Redskins head coach and longtime Arena Football League star player and coach in the Sunshine State, Jay Gruden is on their radar:

Gruden was fired in October after an 0-5 start and while in his sixth season in Washington. He mostly struggled for the Redskins to have success with a 35-49-1 overall record. However, they won the NFC East in Gruden’s second year (2015) with a 9-7 record, but we’re beaten at home in the Wildcard Weekend by the Green Bay Packers.

Gruden worked his way up to his first head coaching job after having been the offensive coordinator for Marvin Lewis for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he worked with quarterback Andy Dalton and spectacular WR A.J. Green and his final year (2013), the Bengals were 6th in overall offense and fifth in scoring.

The Jaguars have also reportedly interviewed former Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, and are said to also be considering former Cowboys and Rams offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, for their vacancy. Coach Doug Marrone fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season last week.

While the team termed it “mutually parting ways,” DeFilippo was quickly hired by the Chicago Bears Wednesday, as a quarterback coach. And, obviously going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a QB coach is not a lateral move.

Jacksonville’s offense sputtered at times this past season, although it was handicapped when prized free agent quarterback Nick Foles was hurt in the first game of the season and missed 9 weeks with a fractured collarbone. Rookie sixth round pick, Gardner Minshew, was good at times in relief and helped Jacksonville win six games overall with his play.

Back to Jay Gruden. He is best known in our state for having been outstanding Arena Football League quarterback leading both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators franchises to Arena Bowl Championships.

Later his career Gruden was a player coach for the Orlando franchise, while also working during the NFL seasons in the fall as an offensive assistant under brother Jon Gruden with the Buccaneers.

Of course, the elder Gruden is now the coach of the Raiders again, and they are slated to move to Las Vegas for this fall. And, it’s entirely possible that Jay Gruden could be joining his brother with them, as well.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement Shop thousands of officially-licensed NFL items at NFLShop.com

Trending