JACKSONVILLE – The circumstances may be different. Gardner Minshew II is not.
"Your approach never really changes," he said.
That was how Minshew was as a backup last season, then as a starter. And it's how he said he will be in the wake of one of his best career performances as the Jaguars (1-0) prepare to play the Tennessee Titans (1-0) in at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday at 1 p.m.
First place is on the line, and Minshew again is a storyline – and drawing national attention as one of the NFL's more entertaining personalities. But in terms of his job – playing quarterback for a young Jaguars team – Minshew said the approach is simple.
"Ever since I got here, I was working to try to be the best quarterback I can be for this team," he said. "That's no different. I think you learn things along the way and you kind of add those, kind of, to the tool bag. But you can only win one game a week. That's what we're focused on.
"When you start looking at things holistically, like as year-by-year, you kind of get lost in the mix. Most importantly, it's one game at a time, one play at a time. It's what's going to serve you best."
Minshew, who earned the starting job last season after beginning his rookie season as a backup, improved to 7-6 as an NFL starter in a 27-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday in the regular-season opener.
Minshew completed 19 of 20 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in the game for a 142.3 passer rating, and his off-field approach drew praise from new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden Wednesday.
"He's a fun guy to hang around with – a funny guy, entertaining," Gruden said. "But for the most part when it's business, it's business. He takes good notes. He studies the game. He's a student. He knows he's got a long way to go from a mental standpoint. He's soaks up the knowledge. It's exciting to work with him.
"Guys that are aware of how necessary it is to prepare, and guys that do prepare, it's fun to work them. We're just scratching the surface. We have a whole new game play for Tennessee. He has to study. He has to work. He's going to do that. "
Minshew said despite throwing just one incompletion he was far from perfect against the Colts. Gruden agreed, although he joked that it's difficult for any coach to not find flaws in any game.
"There are some decisions we'd like to have back, but we're learning," Gruden said. "It's never flawless. There are things we can clean up. In the pocket, he might have escaped a little too soon on a couple of plays where we had down-the-field shots. But for the most part, we're always going to find something. We're coaches. We're not very nice. We're going to find something to be critical about. We can't tell him he was perfect. Otherwise, he'll get a big head.
"But as far as the first game with me, and me getting to know him, I was very impressed with the way he played."
Defensive end Josh Allen missed practice with a calf injury after leaving Sunday's victory with cramping. Head Coach Doug Marrone said Allen was kept out Wednesday as a precaution. Four other Jaguars players missed practice Wednesday: rookie tight end Tyler Davis (knee), tight end Tyler Eifert (scheduled day off), center Brandon Linder (scheduled day off) and cornerback D.J. Hayden (scheduled day off). …
Marrone on Wednesday praised third-year defensive tackle Taven Bryan's play Sunday against the Colts. Bryan played more plays than any other defensive lineman despite time late in training camp with a knee bruise and not returning from that injury until the week of the regular-season opener. "He was ready to go," Marrone said. "We were just being careful and Taven [Bryan]'s one of those guys. He's in unbelievable shape. He's got great strength, really had a great camp. Even though the numbers may not show a lot when you're inside and you're battling, you bounce him into a different gap, and things like that. … He's a guy [where] the longer he plays, the better he gets, and that's what we've seen really out of Taven. The more he's played, he's always improved. He's always gotten better, not as fast as maybe some people would like and maybe even Taven, but I really like the way he's playing, and we need him to play well." …
Marrone on message to team Wednesday: "I told them, I said, 'Hey, we're 0-0. Don't worry about anything else that goes on. Let's just make sure that we're trying to win a game this week and we're trying to get better than we were yesterday. We go out there and practice and just get more focused, more focused on our technique and that's how we want to try to approach each week during the season.'"
Jaguars rookie WR Laviska Shenault Jr.: "I'm here to score touchdowns."