“Fu-Minshew” Mania

Brendan Conniff, Writer

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With just five weeks into the NFL season, starting quarterbacks are dropping fast with season ending or long term injuries. Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Mitchell Trubisky, and Sam Darnold all have fallen victim to these injuries. Arguably the greatest focus is on the injury of the Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback Nick Foles. Foles had been a back-up on the Philadelphia Eagles for most of his career and has been in and out of retirement. Two years ago, he was called out of retirement to become the Eagles starting quarterback when their original starter, Carsen Wentz, went out with a season ending knee injury. The Eagles, who were legitimate Super Bowl contenders, rallied around Foles and, with all odds against him, he pulled off a Super Bowl upset against the New England Patriots to bring the Lombardi trophy to Philadelphia. The next season, Foles was the starting quarterback for the first few games, and then resorted back to being the backup when Wentz came back. In this past offseason, Foles left the Eagles to become the starter in Jacksonville. In week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Foles performed solidly, until a sack late in the first quarter caused him to fall awkwardly on his left shoulder breaking his collarbone. Foles is projected to be out for the next 10 weeks. The Jaguars, who have been having quarterback issues for the last few years, had no other option than to turn to their 6th round draft pick, Gardner Minshew.
Gardner Minshew, born May 16, 1996, grew up in the town of Brandon, Mississippi. As the starting quarterback for Brandon High School, he was ranked 1,837 in the nation for his class, which earned him a 3-star prospect rating and scholarship offers from Troy University and the University of East Carolina. He chose East Carolina where he would be the starting quarterback for both his freshman and sophomore years. Minshew however wanted to be a part of something greater, a program where he could get his team into a bowl game. In 2018, Gardner transferred to Washington State University. Minshew had a rock star year with the Cougars, finishing fifth in the Heisman voting, and winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He finished off his college career by getting drafted 178th in the 6th round by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
No one expected much at all out of the sixth round pick, however he is arguably a top 10 starting quarterback in the league currently. He constantly throws for 250 passing yards a game with little to no turnovers. Surprisingly he is more popular for what he does off the field than on. The “Fu Minshew” – the name given to Minshews’ striking mustache by the public – is one of the most popular internet searches in the last two weeks. Minshew has been growing this mustache since his final season at Washington St. No one really seemed to notice it until his helmet was knocked off in a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. Now people around the country are trying to emulate the “Fu Minshew.” Minshew himself noted in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “There’s a lot of bad mustaches out there right now, but hopefully we’ll get them right.”

One of the most recurring questions in the NFL right now is what happens when Foles comes back. The Jaguars’ doctors have estimated a week 11 return for the Super Bowl champion. Headed into week 6, there is still plenty of time for Minshew to continue to prove himself. If he continues to play the way he is playing right now, the Jaguars should consider keeping him as the starter. The Jaguars have one of the best running backs in the league in Leonard Fournette, and two promising wide receivers in Dede Westbrook, and the Jaguars stand out wide receiver this year, DJ Chark, already has caught 5 touchdowns in the 5 games played. Not to mention, the Jaguars also have one of the best defenses in the league. At this point in the season, it is all up to Minshew to continue to prove himself. He already has developed a great relationship with his receivers, which Foles had yet to do. After watching this quarterback in the past 5 weeks, the Jaguars might have themselves a diamond in the rough, and a future franchise quarterback in Gardner Minshew.