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View from the O-Zone: "I've found my people…"

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II speaks with members of the media after the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II speaks with members of the media after the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The Mania tour made a stop in Miami Wednesday.

That meant Gardner Minshew II spent the morning doing Radio Row. The Jaguars quarterback shook hands, posed for selfies and did all the other doings that celebrities do in this decidedly weird – though also decidedly high-profile – slice of the NFL's biggest week.

Indeed, the Stache did his thing in his style.

He toured Radio Row characteristically clad in shorts, T-Shirt and headband.

He pitched Snickers along the way, and yes …

It was all cool. He was cool.  Naturally.

"Not too bad," Minshew described his morning after being rushed from one national-media stop to another – five in all – for an hour at the Miami Beach Convention Center Wednesday morning. "Just some interviews, meeting a lot of pretty cool people. It's pretty cool."

This was Minshew's morning: 10 minutes with ESPN's Golic and Wingo at 8:30 a.m., followed by 10 minutes with Boomer Esiason on the CBS Sports Radio set, followed by 10 more minutes with Mike Florio and Chris Simms at Pro Football Talk, followed by 10 more minutes on Sirius XM with Solomon Wilcots, David Diehl and Charlie Weis.

He ended with a few minutes at the NFL Experience, and the morning as a whole was standard Radio Row stuff: a lot of walking, a lot of smiling, a lot of posing and a lot of talking. But Minshew unsurprisingly put a mustachioed, Minshew-esque – and Duval-esque – flair to the proceedings.

The last part was particularly true during his morning's stop with Bob Golic and Trey Wingo. The pair asked Minshew about his recent, highly-publicized RV trip – a tour in which Minshew and friends visited various locales in an RV – and the interview was peppered with the expected football questions.

The subject turned to Jacksonville, and how Jaguars fans – and Northeast Florida – had immediately and wholeheartedly embraced he and his unique style.

"I think I've kind of found my people," Minshew said with a wide smile.

While it's true that Minshew is so unique and likeable it's hard to imagine a community that wouldn't embrace him, there is an undeniable fit between Minshew and Jaguars fans.

"I love Jacksonville," Minshew told Pro Football Talk a while later.

Minshew on the PFT talk also discussed his unique clothing style.

"Everything I've got I've gotten for free somehow," he said with a laugh. "I haven't bought clothes since, like, high school."

And so it went on Wednesday morning.

Radio Row, though stationed at the Super Bowl, isn't the most football-centric local. The interviews are more about flash and color. Still, Minshew did talk a little football with during a brief walk following the tour.

His plan is to spend the next two and a half months training in Naples, Fla., with Ken Mastrole – with whom he worked while preparing for last April's 2019 NFL Draft. He said this will be full-time football training, and he said he plans to study new coordinator Jay Gruden's playbook as soon as possible. Asked what he hoped to get from the time in Naples, he said his hope is to "dive" into the tape and improve on "anything I was consistently messing up on."

"Also to get faster and stronger," he said, adding with a smile: "And probably more tan, since I'll be in Naples."

Minshew said he looked forward to working with Gruden – and expressed frustration with not yet being able to speak with the new coordinator. Under the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association, coaches may not speak to players about football during the offseason until the mid-April beginning of the official offseason program.

"I feel like if a guy wants to work, he should be able to work, but I don't know…" he said.

Minshew touched on a few other issues, and when asked about the Jaguars' quarterback situation he answered best he could. Neither Head Coach Doug Marrone nor General Manager David Caldwell officially has said who will start at quarterback next season or even entering the offseason. Minshew starting 12 games with a 6-6 record last season and finished the season as the starter; veteran Nick Foles went 0-4 in four starts.

"As of right now, we both will be in the quarterback room getting ready for next season," Minshew said.

That's a critical Jaguars offseason topic – THE critical Jaguars offseason topic, actually. But it's also a topic for another day. Wednesday was about taking Minshew Mania to Miami for a while, and it was about fun. And Minshew said he absolutely has had fun in recent weeks.

"This something I've wanted my whole life, something I've always dreamed of," he said. "I'm not going to get here now it and not enjoy it. It's truly a blessing."

Yes, the RV trip is over, and the Mania tour is nearing an end. But while the real offseason work will begin next week, Wednesday was cool. As was Minshew. Naturally.

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