JACKSONVILLE – He is excited to be back. Absolutely.
Gardner Minshew II said as much. But when meeting with media Wednesday while preparing to start at quarterback yet again for the Jaguars, he talked more about something else – that observers' thoughts on the Jaguars' chances Sunday don't matter.
Not to him. And not to his teammates.
"I wouldn't say there's a ton of pressure right now," Minshew said as the Jaguars (1-12) prepared to play the Baltimore Ravens (8-5) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., Sunday at 1 p.m.
"I don't think anyone really expects much out of a 1-12 team, but we expect a lot out of ourselves. We're going to go out there and try not to let what's going on this season determine what happens these next three games. We're going to go try to have a lot of fun, make the most of them and try to put some good stuff on tape."
Minshew, the Jaguars' starting quarterback in 12 games last season and the first seven games this season, returned to the lineup when Head Coach Doug Marrone named him the starter Monday. Minshew the previous day replaced veteran Mike Glennon, throwing a touchdown pass in the final quarter and a half of a loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Minshew's start Sunday will mark the Jaguars' fourth change at the position this season, with rookie Jake Luton starting three games while Minshew was out with a thumb injury and Glennon starting the past three games – two of which Minshew spent as a healthy backup.
"We're excited to have Gardner back in there full go," Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. "Hopefully, we'll give him something he's comfortable with – and let him play."
Minshew said he entered the week expecting to be the starter moving forward, and that he was excited when Marrone made the decision.
"Just glad to be back in the saddle," Minshew said, and said of practicing Wednesday as the starter for the first time in two months: "It felt like forever, but it felt good to be back out there and see everybody and get in the flow of the game. I'm excited to continue to build on it."
Minshew on Wednesday also addressed the possibility of offseason change around the organization and at quarterback. The Jaguars recently fired general manager David Caldwell and currently are on pace to hold the No. 2 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
"That very well might happen," he said. "But that has nothing to do with us playing the Baltimore Ravens or the Chicago Bears or the Indianapolis Colts. I can control what I can right now. Whatever happens down the road, we'll face it as it gets here. We're not going to put the wagon in front of the horse right now.
"I look at it as going out and trying to be the best I can for my teammates, who deserve a win after a long, long season."
Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell, who Head Coach Doug Marrone said is expected to play after being on injured reserve the past three weeks with a forearm injury, was designated to return from injured reserve Wednesday. Rookie cornerback Chris Claybrooks – on injured reserve for three weeks with a core muscle injury – also was designated to return from injured reserve Wednesday. The Jaguars on Wednesday also placed cornerback Tre Herndon on the COVID-19/reserve list and placed center Brandon Linder (ankle) on injured reserve. Practicing limited for the Jaguars Wednesday: defensive end Adam Gotsis (hip), safety Josh Jones (shoulder), cornerback Sidney Jones IV (Achilles), cornerback Greg Mabin (hamstring) and running back James Robinson (knee).
Marrone on facing former Jaguars defensive ends and current Ravens defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell Sunday: "Half [of] this team I don't even think was here when they were there; there's so much transition, coaches, players moving around that these things happen. Everyone knows what I've said in the past about those two players. I have a ton of respect for them, I really do. I hope that they're doing well personally and everything and I hope they're happy. … I have a ton of respect for those guys. You can't get two better guys in a building than those two."