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Minshew: "We have a lot to prove…"

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II warms up before an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

JACKSONVILLE – Gardner Minshew II was asked Thursday about outside noise.

This was his first meeting with local media of the 2020 offseason. Because the noise around the Jaguars this offseason has been particularly … well, noisy … the topic was not unexpected.

Minshew's answer wasn't unexpected, either.

"I think it should put a chip on everybody's shoulder on our team," he said.

Minshew, a sixth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft who went 6-6 as a starter last season, spoke for about 20 minutes Thursday. He discussed multiple topics, including his reaction when he learned he indeed will be the team's starting quarterback entering the 2020 season.

The Jaguars went 6-10 last season, and many analysts are projecting another difficult season. Minshew said while those opinions matter little, they can still be used as motivation.

"Being kind of counted out like that, I think we do have a lot to prove," Minshew said. "We have to prove that we're not what anybody says about us. The only people whose opinions matter are who's in that huddle, who's on that team.

"I think we're going to set those expectations for ourselves and not worry about what anybody else has to say about us."

Minshew, who replaced injured starter Nick Foles in Week 1 last season before replacing him permanently later in the season, threw 21 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2019. He also finished with more victories than any other rookie starting quarterback.

The Jaguars traded Foles in mid-March to the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, then made it clear Minshew would be the starter entering next season when they didn't select a quarterback early in the NFL Draft.

"I'm not big on looking back," Minshew said. "I'm more concerned about what we're going to do moving forward. You take what we did well this past season and learn from it, take what we didn't do as well and learn from that. But I think it's all an effort to get us better for the future."

While Minshew's four come-from-behind victories and dynamic personality made him a star in Jacksonville and nationally, he said Thursday "I don't really necessarily care about all that." He said his current focus is on the Jaguars' offseason program, which is being conducted virtually because of COVID-19 regulations.

"What I care about is when guys on our team come and tell me that they're behind me and they believe in me," he said. "When I feel like I've earned the respect of those guys, those are the opinions I really care about. I think as long as I have that, we're going to build this thing together and things will be very exciting.

"I think we're definitely getting there through what we did last year. It's a little different this year with how we're not in-person. We're trying to grow and develop those relationships from a distance right now, but hopefully we'll get back together soon."

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