As the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) prepare to walk into NRG Stadium to play the Houston Texans (0-1) in the team's week 2 matchup on Sunday, each team's primary focus will be on one person — Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew
Minshew, a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, will make his first career NFL start against the Texans after Jacksonville's starting quarterback Nick Foles broke his left clavicle in the first quarter of the team's 40-26 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
After Minshew stepped in for Foles, he led the team on four scoring drives and completed 22 of his 25 passes, setting franchise records and giving Jacksonville a sliver of hope. He also left an impression on Texans head coach Bill O'Brien.
"He played really good against Kansas City," O'Brien said on a conference call with media Tuesday. "What we saw last week was very impressive. For a rookie to go into a game like that and to play the way he did, much credit given to Minshew. No doubt about it."
O'Brien said anytime a team has to face a backup quarterback who there is not much tape on, it presents an element of the unknown to the matchup. O'Brien said Houston did scout Minshew before the draft and saw him in the preseason though, so he has somewhat of a feel for his skillset.
"He played in a Mike Leach offense so you know It was really good knowledge of coverages, accurate passer. Basically being able to get his team into the right plays, very smart, a guy that was a winner," he said. "Mike Leach does great job with those guys and this is his most recent product, and he is a good player."
Coming out of Washington State, and throughout this year's preseason, Minshew faced questions about his arm strength. This did not cause him any issues against the Chiefs and if the issue does creep up, O'Brien thinks it is a bit of an overblown trait in quarterbacks.
"I think arm strength is a little overrated. I mean, I think you have to have arm strength, I am not saying you don't. But I think it is accuracy. I think that the quarterback position is all about decision making, accuracy, poise and being away," he said. "I have coached a lot of guys that have rocket arms that didn't have all those things."
In addition to playing a quarterback without much tape available on him, Houston will also be coming off of a short week due to playing on Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints in week 1. O'Brien said this adds yet another element to Sunday's matchup, in addition to Minshew and the Jaguars' weapons.
"I think that they have a number of guys who can hurt you, whether its receivers or Leonard Fournette out of the backfield," O'Brien said. "I think we have to do a good job on a short week here. We are challenged. The Jaguars are ahead of us right now relative to the days."