JACKSONVILLE – Gardner Minshew II understands reality.
In the NFL, reality is nothing counts until it counts. So, he won't say the last two weeks prove much.
"It doesn't do you much good making a case right now," he said.
Still, Minshew early in 2020 Training Camp has looked impressive. So have the receivers. So has the entire offense, and Minshew – entering his first full season as the Jaguars' starting quarterback – said he likes how camp is going in a new offense under new coordinator Jay Gruden.
"We're at the point now where we're kind of going out and playing," Minshew said. "There's not as much thinking, and that's only going to get better."
Minshew joined local media via videoconference Friday morning after practice at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. First-year quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo joined the media before practice, saying he likes what he has seen early in his working relationship with Minshew.
"He makes the game fun," McAdoo said. "It's definitely not a death march with Gardner and those kinds of things make it fun for me. He's a fun player to coach."
McAdoo, head coach of the New York Giants from 2016-2017, said Friday he's going to "be smart" in his approach with Minshew and "not ask him to change too much." He added, "There are some things we know can make a difference and help him out."
"We're still early on in the process," he said. "A lot of the concepts we're throwing at him are new. Some of them are things he's done in the past, so we're working right now on just kind of learning the system and applying the necessary fundamentals to it. Whether that's ball security, whether that's working on his feet, whether it's working on his timing, we're working on a little bit of everything."
McAdoo said while he watched tape of Minshew's 2019 rookie season in the offseason, he didn't want to draw conclusions from that. His early face-to-face impressions have been favorable.
"He's very dedicated to football," McAdoo said. "Take a look at how he's taken care of his body in the offseason; he has been committed there. He's done a great job studying the offense, not just when coaches are in the room with him or in the virtual meetings with him, but he's taken the bull by the horns studying it and then getting the other players kind of going, doing some walkthroughs and things like that, so that's been great.
"He's also a guy to me that's very gritty. When you look at his past and the things that he's been through in the game. I like to coach a player like that, someone who's been through some things. He's not a guy who's had smooth sailing, so he has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder there and I like that."
The offense early in camp has looked perhaps better than expected given the circumstances. The Jaguars, like all NFL teams, conducted no offseason on-field work because of COVID-19. That made the past two weeks Gruden's first practices with Minshew and a young offense.
"Our coaching staff has done a really good job teaching this, kind of breaking it down and taking a little bit at a time," Minshew said. "The guys have really put the work in to learn it."
The group was particularly impressive Thursday, with Minshew throwing multiple red-zone touchdown passes. Pro Bowl wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. also was impressive that day, catching two red-zone touchdown passes and making a spectacular one-handed catch in a late drill.
"I'm getting a lot more comfortable, not only in the offense but with the guys around me," Minshew said. "A lot of those touchdowns are just from giving our guys chances to make plays. They've made the plays for me. DJ's been great. [Tight end] James O'Shaughnessy had some big plays. We've had a bunch of guys step up throughout the whole camp. It's just us getting on the same page and putting trust in each other."
Minshew has shown good early rapport not only with Chark and O'Shaughnessy, but with veteran tight end Tyler Eifert and rookie wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. Veteran receivers Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley and Keelan Cole also have stood out with Minshew in various early practices.
"It's even better than I expected, and I was expecting really good things," Minshew said. "I think we have kind of a wide array of tools and different skill sets in those rooms. … We've been working hard; I believe in these guys.
"Really, we can only make a case on Sundays. If we talk about it right now, that's all it is, is talk. I'm looking forward to actually getting out there and proving it."
*Minshew said while he is working with the first team this season rather than the reserves, he isn't worried about arm fatigue. "I think I probably threw more last year," Minshew said. "You end up throwing a lot of scout team stuff. You throw to all the tight ends, all the running backs. I'm very comfortable with how our staff is making sure I'm getting adequate rest and adequate recovery so I can maintain arm strength and health throughout the camp."