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Minshew passes Thunderbirds test with flying colors

Gardner Minshew displayed fearlessness and calm in the pocket during his impressive rookie campaign.

The Jacksonville Jaguars' signal-caller doesn't only impress in the pocket, he also excels in the cockpit.

Minshew flew with the Air Force Thunderbirds last month, and Lt. Col. Kevin DiFalco, who piloted the F-16 Falcon, raved about how the quarterback handled the potentially jarring nature of the flight.

"We were pretty excited that Gardner took us up on our offer," DiFalco told the Florida Times-Union. "He did fantastic, he did really well. You could tell he was very motivated. Most of our maneuvers require high G-force pulls, and he did a great job. I was very impressed.

"On a 1-10 scale, I'll give him a 10 overall. He was loving all the maneuvers. Some people get a little bit nervous, but he was not nervous at all."

Unlike some celebrities who take these types of flights, Minshew didn't get sick or pass out --like a certain Hall of Fame running back.

"Sometimes, people may not enjoy rolling maneuvers or high G maneuvers, so everything we do with these media flights is really for them," DiFalco said. "It's to showcase what we do in the F-16s. If they're uncomfortable, we would opt not to perform a certain maneuver.

"Gardner was excited. He just wanted more and more of every single maneuver. The G limit is 9.0 for this aircraft, but occasionally the aircraft will pull slightly more."

Minshew sporting aviators and a leather jacket, flying around with Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" blaring in the background is about as on-brand as gets in the NFL.

Now the Jags' QB flies into offseason workouts attempting to best Nick Foles for the starting gig in his second season. The calm Minshew displays in every aspect of life will certainly help in that endeavor.

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