Open Locker Room: “We’re behind” Minshew

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

JACKSONVILLE – For now, the ‘Stache shall lead them.

And Jaguars players are fine with that.

Gardner Minshew II, the Jaguars’ mustachioed rookie, is expected to start at quarterback against the Houston Texans Sunday. He played the final three quarters of a season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday after Foles sustained a broken left clavicle.

Foles underwent surgery Monday and is expected to miss extended time.

“We’re behind him,” veteran wide receiver Chris Conley said of Minshew Monday, a day after the Jaguars’ 40-26 loss to the Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field. “We’re prepared to get a game plan around the things he’s good at, make him comfortable and go win a game for him.”

Minshew, a sixth-round selection from Washington State, completed 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. Teammates on Monday spoke of being impressed with his poise and performance under adverse circumstances.

Minshew completed his first 13 passes Sunday and was moving the Jaguars toward a possible score to cut the Chiefs lead to a touchdown or less when running back Leonard Fournette lost a fumble inside the Chiefs 25 early in the third quarter.

“I was impressed,” defensive captain Calais Campbell said of Minshew. “He came out and played a very good ballgame. I’m sure there are plays he could have made, and there were ups and down, but his stat line was impressive. There’s a good energy he brought. He came in there and you just saw the energy.

“He played with a lot of poise and toughness. He made good decision, quick decisions. He kept the chains moving, and that’s all you ask for. He showed he can produce and hopefully, he can do it again.

“If he plays like he did yesterday, we’ll be OK for these next couple of weeks.”

Also around the Jaguars’ locker room Monday:

*Campbell called the defense’s ongoing issues with composure “definitely a team thing.” Not only did linebacker Myles Jack get ejected Sunday for throwing a punch in a first-half end-zone altercation, safety Ronnie Harrison drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting with the Jaguars trailing 23-13 in the third quarter. The penalty turned third-and-2 at the Jaguars two into first-and-goal at the one, and Chiefs running back Damien Williams’ one-yard touchdown on the ensuing play gave Kansas City a 30-13 lead. “It’s being situationally smart,” Campbell said. “It’s something we’re working on. It’s an emotional game. Emotions are going to get the best of us at times. But the biggest thing is can we keep it together, especially in moments where it can put more points on the board or take points off the board or whatever the scenario may be. We understand we can’t give up free yardage. We can’t give up penalties. The chip on the shoulder the guys play with, the emotion guys play with … that’s what makes us special. We need it. We just have to make sure we don’t get penalties for it. There has to be that fine line, that balance. We’ll get there.” …

*Second-year veteran Will Richardson Jr. made his first NFL start at left tackle Sunday after missing his rookie season with knee and shoulder issues. Richardson, who competed with A.J. Cann at right guard throughout the preseason, learned Friday he would be starting at tackle after starting left tackle Cam Robinson sustained a hyperextended right knee in practice Thursday. “Overall, I think I played good,” Richardson said. “The biggest thing for me is just getting more reps at left tackle. The more reps I get, the more coordinated I’ll become at left tackle.” … Said center and offensive co-captain Brandon Linder: “He did a good job. He stepped in and played well. It was impressive.”

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