Minshew Mania is back… for now. I hope no one is buying the Jags as a real contender thus far and that no one is buying Gardner Minshew as a real threat to break the top 10 quarterbacks list. Look, he’s been fun to watch – no doubt about it. The Jags have been fun – barely missing out on beating VP Davis Kelly’s Titans on Sunday and surprisingly beating the Colts in Week 1.
D.J. Chark looks to have good rapport with Gardner Minshew and I’m really interested to see how they continue to utilize Laviska Shenault in the offense. He’s getting a “Swiss Army Knife” treatment, getting both carries and catches (Pick him up in fantasy football btw). The ghost of Tyler Eifert and Keelan Cole just aren’t going to get it done in the TE and WR2/3 departments, so I’d expect Minshew to struggle a little bit and return back to Earth in the following weeks. It’s too early to tell with James Robinson (pick him up if he’s somehow not added already), but the early returns have been decent.
I’m especially not buying it, because everywhere you look the Jags are bound for some negative regression. FootballOutsiders has the Jags ranked 24th in expected overall team efficiency. They also have the Jags ranked 24th in expected offensive efficiency and 27th in expected defensive efficiency. I could be wrong here, but a team that’s ranked 24th in expected team performance just isn’t a contender for me. It would be different if the team had some real talent that had been struggling or some emerging talent to speak of, but there isn’t much established talent to be found. C.J. Henderson has shown some nice promise, Myles Jack looks promising so far, and Andrew Wingard has looked solid early on. But everywhere else this defense has average or below-average talent, according to player grades from Pro Football Focus. It’s the same with the offense. Just average or below average everywhere (again, according to PFF).
Even Mustache Minshew is ranked 17th among all quarterbacks according to PFF, showing that not exactly a high-quality offense being operated here. By the way, previous Editorial star Mitch Trubisky is ranked 13th by the same metric, just ahead of Captain Kirk Cousins and Josh “I Look Good in Shorts” Allen. Minshew is also expected to see his completion rate come back down; he’s completing 75% of his passes through 2 weeks but holds a 66% expected completion percentage. He also threw two interceptions on Sunday, including a back-breaking (and somewhat avoidable) interception on the final drive of the game. It is worth noting, however, that Minshew holds a top 10 passer rating at the moment.
The good thing about this impending regression is that the Jaguars have some very beatable teams coming up on their schedule. Their next four opponents are the Dolphins, the Bengals, the Texans, and the Lions. If things break their way, the Jags could be 4-2 (or even 5-1 if they can contain DeShaun Watson) heading into Week 7. And who knows with the AFC South? That division is puzzling, because really anyone could win it this year. Could we see a Jags team in the playoffs, somehow? I doubt it, but the way their fellow division mates look, we could see a whole bunch of teams grouped up together in the AFC South vying for a division title in the final weeks of the season.
For now, though, enjoy whatever Minshew Magic there is left to have. It probably won’t last long.