Despite his wild rookie year, Minshew remains an enigma

Where does Minshew Mania go from here?

That’s the question for the Jaguars as they prepare for the upcoming season, assuming there is a season.

Gardner Minshew became one of the most popular players in the history of the franchise in his rookie season as he won over the fans with his charisma, swashbuckling style and even his mustache.

The Jaguars were convinced to trade Nick Foles a year after signing him to expensive deal and install Minshew as the starter going into his second season.

But the question remains whether Minshew is good enough to take the next step or whether he will struggle as defenses have more time to hone in on him.

The challenges he faces were outlined in an in-depth study of his rookie season by Gus Logue on SI.com. His conclusions are that what you think you see in Minshew isn’t what you get.

He won the fans over with his ability to scramble and make plays. But when he scrambles, he ranks 24th in EPA per scramble and his throws were accurate 26.7% of the time compared to a league average of 42.5%. And he fumbled 13 times lost, fourth highest in the league. He was too quick to check down and his checkdown passes also weren’t that productive, although it didn’t help that Leonard Fournette wasn’t good in yards after the catch.

What Minshew is good at is hitting his first target on first downs. His PFF average in those situations was 57.1 percent, which was above league average.

Surprisingly enough, for a quarterback who doesn’t have a strong arm, he was effective throwing deep, but he didn’t do it often enough. Maybe he doesn’t have enough confidence in his arm.

And he was 6-6 in his 12 starts and the team ranked 26th in scoring an 31st in first half points.

Can Minshew, with the help of new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, improve his game this year since the Jaguars have given him more weapons this year, especially at tight end?

That is the question that will be answered this year.

Minshew said the team is going to “focus on what we can do and not what we can’t do.”

If Minshew and team can’t do it well enough this year, the Jaguars may be looking to find a new quarterback next year. If he does well, Minshew mania will continue.

Either way it is going to make for an interesting season. If there is a season, of course.

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