Seemingly equal parts mustache, headband and charisma, Gardner Minshew isn't just an affable character with witty comebacks and an easy grin.
During a week in which Minshew was activated from the Jacksonville Jaguars' reserve/COVID-19 list and proceeded to tell the media of the novel coronavirus, "it took one look at me and ran the other way. That's probably in its best interest," and matched a dog bark for bark, his coach Doug Marrone offered another perspective of his second-season signal-caller
"I get home last night and someone says to me that, 'Hey did you see the thing about Gardner, a dog barked and he barked back?' I don't know so many of the things that go on, on the outside. So, it's hard for me, like when people ask me about him or ask me about questions like that, that's the part I don't see. Does that make sense?" Marrone said Thursday, via team transcript. "In other words, I don't see that part in that player. Not to say that I can't see him not doing those things, you know what I mean? There's so many people that tell me all of those things about social media, RV's and all that stuff. I see the guy that comes in with a mission and a focus every single day. When he's here or around myself, not to say that we might not laugh about something or joke, we do, but I don't see that other side that people say about the quirkiness or things of that nature. Maybe I bring that out in people, I don't know. I'm just saying I see a guy that's focused and he's ready to go and every time he's here and he's working, he's on a mission and he's really working with his teammates."
Minshew Mania and media sound bites aside, the 24-year-old Washington State product is the leading man in perhaps the Jaguars' marquee storyline of the year. Though he's the incumbent starter, 2020 looms pivotal in Minshew proving himself to be the franchise quarterback.
Along with his popularity last year, he also showcased production and had easily the best rookie season any Jaguars quarterback has ever had. Minshew averaged 230-plus yards per game, had more than 20 touchdown passes and less than 10 interceptions, which was a stat line never before seen by an NFL rookie QB, per NFL research. But his second season is now in focus.
Thus far, he's shown the all-important character that many a good quarterback possesses and draws in his teammates, along with the production. Marrone believes he has the serious side and the focus to push him to the next level, as well.
"I say that he's someone that has a really good personality and can laugh at himself and do those things, which I think is important in life. I think that he's someone that can communicate with everyone on his team no matter where you are or whether you're the guy that stays in the corner or whether you're out there. And I think that's great. Those things are positive," Marrone said. "Make no mistake about it, when he crosses that line and he's on the field or he's in the classroom or when he's by himself, he's working extremely hard. That's what I see."