JACKSONVILLE – Know this about Gardner Minshew II:
It's never dull when the topic is the Jaguars' quarterback and facial hair – and it's not dull when Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen gets involved, either. Both happened Tuesday.
Minshew, known for his trademark mustache-and-bandana look, early in the day was the subject of good-natured "criticism" by Miami Dolphins' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick – Minshew's counterpart this week and the sporter of perhaps the NFL's most impressive, famous beard.
"The mustaches versus the beard … I think the beard is cooler," Fitzpatrick said via videoconference Tuesday as the Jaguars (1-1) prepared to play the Dolphins (0-2) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Thursday a 8:20 p.m. "Guys that grow mustaches have patchy sides."
The 24-year-old Minshew "fired back" at the 37-year-old Fitzpatrick on his own videoconference later Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm going to have respect for my elders," he said with a smile, "especially when they're much, much elder."
Allen, who last week called Minshew a "superstar," unsurprisingly sided with his teammate.
"I was just thinking about that yesterday, and I was thinking, 'Dude does have a really good beard,''' Allen said of Fitzpatrick. "You can't beat the 'stache, though."
Allen added, "Gardner doesn't just have a little; he rocks his. You've got a lot of guys who are trying to do the little thing Gardner does and it just doesn't look right. I feel like everybody can rock a nice beard. I got me a little beard. It's like his [Fitzpatrick's], but I rock mine. A lot of people can't do what Gardner does. I'm going to rock with my dog and keep that mustache game going."
The Jaguars' player videoconferences Tuesday were very much the Minshew-Allen show as the Jaguars prepared for the Dolphins on a short week. As Minshew's session ended and Allen prepared to take his place, Allen threw his gloves and other items at Minshew – who then "autographed" the gloves his teammate from the 2019 draft class.
"To Josh," Minshew said out loud as he signed, "from G-money…"
Minshew then tongue-in-cheek said, "That's one of the best things about the job right there. You have so many people looking up to you. You never know who it is. You get a kid like Josh Allen … you never know what he could grow up to be. I'm just trying to be a good influence and help him along his way."
Allen during his videoconference held up the gloves to show off the autograph to the media.
"I'm going to have to frame this," he said, tongue in cheek.
Allen later said there was nothing sarcastic about how he felt about Minshew.
"He gives off that energy," Allen said, adding with a laugh: "My wife loves him, probably more than she loves me – which I'm a little mad at. She thinks he's a superstar, but that's just the vibe he gives. He's a superstar on and off the field. I love Gardner. That's my guy: G-Money."
The Jaguars have registered two sacks in two games – one by linebacker Myles Jack against Indianapolis in Week 1 and one by rookie defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson against Tennessee in Week 2. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash on Tuesday said the key to the pass rush is as much what happens to set up passing situations as what happens when the opponent actually is attempting to pass. "A lot of it has to do with down and distances," Wash said. When teams throw on obvious passing situations, pass rushes are often more effective. When teams throw in situations where they can run or pass effectively, it's much tougher to pressure the passer. We've got to do a better job on first and second down of trying to get them into a little bit of third-and-7-plus situations." We've just got to continue to get better, which I think we are." Wash said while blitzing is an option, whether to do so "depends on the protections you're getting" from the opposing offense. "Are they in max-pro team?" he said. "Are they a chip-pro team? Why are you going to blitz if you're just going to run your face into the wall? A lot of it has to do with the scheme we're playing. For me, it has to be a situation where if we're not getting pressure with four, then we have to come with pressure. But down and distance dictates that."
Allen on playing in front of fans Thursday night in prime time after playing in front of no fans in a loss at Tennessee last Sunday: "I see it as an advantage, especially because we're playing at home. We have our fans to get rowdy when we need them to be and we have our fans to get quiet when we need them to be. For a lot of young guys, it's the first time playing in prime time. The real ballers are going to ball out. I'm excited to see who shows up to play. I hate playing with no fans. It kind of sucked."