In just three weeks, Jacksonville Jaguars fill-in quarterback Garner Minshew II has transcended into a cult icon with his “Uncle Rico” like looks (Napoleon Dynamite) and steady play on the field. Although it is uncertain whether or not the rookie QB an actually toss a pigskin “quarter-mile”, it is becoming obvious that he intends to make the most of his opportunity, filling in for injured Jacksonville starter Nick Foles.
Yesterday evening during Thursday Night Football, Minshew led the Jags to a 22-7 win over the Tennessee Titans. His team got off to a quick start, as the QB threw two first-quarter touchdowns. For the game, Minshew’s stat line wasn’t “explosive” like the ones you see from Kansas City Chiefs QB Pat Mahommes. However, it was very efficient and brings thoughts that Minshew may possibly be able to hold his place as the Jags’ game-manager. He completed 20 of 30 passes for a modest 204 yards, while throwing no interceptions to go along with his pair of TD passes.
Through his first 3 games, the Washington State product is completing 74% of his passes, the highest for a player through his first three games dating back to 1970. He has managed a total of five TD’s and only one interception during that time span. Minshew is the second quarterback in franchise history to throw a touchdown in each of his team’s first three games, joining Byron Leftwich who accomplished the feat back in 2003.
It’s very easy for people to “dig” the 70’s porn-stash and the headbands Minshew sports, providing a unique look with gravitational strength that brings to life the idea of Napoleon’s stereo-typical former football glory uncle. To make things better, it seems that thus far the rookie has all the right moves and things to say when dealing with media members.
According to ESPN, Minshew says, “A lot of people never thought I would get this opportunity, so now that I do have it, I make the most of it,” further adding, “I’m super grateful for it, but I know through everything I’ve learned in my career, with the situation I’m in, I know I may only get one, so you gotta make the most of it. So that’s what I’m trying to do now.”
It’s obvious that the former sixth-round pick is no stranger to making the most of his opportunities. Minshew graduated with a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University in 2017 with one year of eligibility remaining. As a graduate transfer, he was set to be the third-string QB for Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa behind Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts for Alabama with hopes of landing a spot as a graduate-assistant on Saban’s staff. That all changed eventually when passing guru Mike Leach came calling from Washington State.
Leach asked him, “So do you want to come lead the country in passing?”
Realizing that he had limited playing time left in his career, he decided to head out west and continue chasing his childhood dream of playing in the National Football League. The decision proved to be right for Minshew, as he led the nation or hovered in the top-five of a majority of the nation’s statistical passing categories. For the season, he led the Cougars to 11 wins and went 468 of 662, passing for 4,776 yards and 38 touchdowns while garner a passer rating of 138.7.
On the field, Minshew looks like a wild-man. It’s easy for fans to be attracted to, or connect with his growing “legend” because he seems to be the guy that never gave up on his dreams, which is something many adult fans regret doing in their lives. His journey epitomizes the true “underdog” role that sports-reporters love to eat up, ultimately embellishing the details of his triumphs. His story is one made for a movie. The only question is how long will the story last and will he carve a place in the NFL as a regular guy with an irregular look, doing regular things that nobody expected? Perhaps, not even himself?
Header Photo Credit: ESPN