JACKSONVILLE – His faith in the quarterback remains strong.
John DeFilippo made that clear speaking to the media Thursday – and the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator made this much clear, too:
Gardner Minshew II will respond to his first difficult NFL game, and respond well.
“He’s been great,” DeFilippo said Thursday as the Jaguars (2-4) prepared to play the Cincinnati Bengals (0-6) at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Minshew, the Jaguars’ quarterback who played as well as any rookie in the league at the position through five games, had his first “rookie” game this past Sunday against New Orleans.
After throwing nine touchdowns and one interception in his first five NFL appearances, Minshew threw for 163 yards with no touchdowns and an interception against a defense that game-planned to take away much that had gone right for Minshew for the previous month.
DeFilippo said such a day was to be expected at some point and emphasized that the entire offense – and not just Minshew – struggled against New Orleans.
“Guys go through this,” DeFilippo said. “It’s a learning stage for these young quarterbacks. To think that a young quarterback is going to go out every game and perform at an All-Pro, high, high level … I think you’re foolish, to be quite honest with you.
“They’re going to have bumps in the road. Offenses are going to have bumps in the road. Coaches, myself … I didn’t feel like I called my best game. You learn from it and move on. You can’t let it compound to the next week.”
DeFilippo said “short-term” memory will be key for Minshew.
“If you don’t have short-term memory, you’re not going to last long in this league,” DeFilippo said.
The Saints last week played a defense designed to take away second-year wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., who had entered the game with 27 receptions for 475 yards and five touchdowns through five games. Chark caught three passes for 43 yards against New Orleans.
The Saints also rushed with the idea of pressuring Minshew, but also keeping him in the pocket to negate his mobility. DeFilippo said the Jaguars will be “much more prepared for whatever they throw at us this week, for sure.”
“We’ll see,” DeFilippo said. “We’ll be ready for it if they do – as much as we can. You go into every game anticipating how somebody’s going to play you. Then, if they don’t play you exactly the way you thought, then you have to adjust. …
“There are some things I could have done better, some throws we could have, some protections that could have been better. All around as an offense it just wasn’t our best performance. It was kind of one of those games. You move on. You learn from those experiences, but you move on and you learn.”
DeFilippo has talked since Minshew took over as the starter in Week 2 after starter Nick Foles sustained a broken clavicle of the need for Minshew to play with confidence, and to not play like a robot. DeFilippo this week said the key for Minshew and the entire offense will be balancing being disappointed and motivated by last week and moving forward to Sunday.
“It’s a fine line when you’re dealing with young quarterbacks,” DeFilippo said. “There are lot of things that go on playing quarterback in this league – from protections, to routes, to changing the protection, to what the defense is going to do. You just need to make these guys understand that they don’t need to be Superman every week. We have players around him at every position on our offense to go out and help him win a football game.
“We’re not in a situation where the quarterback has to put the whole burden on himself to go out and win. It will be fun to watch him when he plays well this week and the rest of the season.”