After making the AFC Championship Game in 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars have fallen hard the last two seasons. Expectations are low in 2020.
The early predictions for the Jags are not good. ESPN's FPI ranks them dead last in the league, with a projected overall record of 5-11. CBS Sports' most recent power rankings places Jacksonville at No. 31, ahead of only the Washington Redskins.
USA Today's Nate Davis has the Jaguars going 3-13, tied for the league's second-worst record. To put it bluntly, the experts all seem to agree that Jacksonville will be bad this fall.
If the Jaguars are going to outperform expectations, they need a big season from second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew. Minshew opened eyes as a rookie, but now the stakes have been raised as Jacksonville needs to see if the Washington State product is indeed the team's QB of the future.
In a teleconference with media this afternoon, Minshew was asked about the dire preseason predictions for his team and what they mean, if anything.
"Yeah, I mean, I think it should put a chip on everybody's shoulder on our team, being counted out like that," Minshew said, via NFL.com's Kevin Patra. "I think we do have a lot to prove, prove that we're not what anybody says about us. The only people (whose) opinions matter are who's in that huddle, who's on that team, and I think we're going to set those expectations for ourselves and not worry about what anybody else has to say about us."
In 14 games (12 starts) last season, Minshew connected on 60.6 percent of his passes for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. Jacksonville went 6-6 in games he started.
By trading Nick Foles and his expensive contract, the Jaguars officially handed the reins over to Minshew for this season.
Time will tell if that was the right decision or not.