First-year quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Gardner Minshew bringing new life to their offenses

First-year starters Kyle Allen and Gardner Minshew each have given new life to their teams' offenses.

On Sunday, two first-year starting quarterbacks went head-to-head and continued to show how they’re springing new life into their offenses. Those two quarterbacks? Kyle Allen and Gardner Minshew II

Very rarely is it a good thing when a team’s starting quarterback goes down with an injury. Typically, that spells doom. For the rare Kurt Warner‘s or Tom Brady‘s that come in and succeed, there’s the Chase Daniel‘s and Blaine Gabbert‘s that prove that they’re nothing more than a backup. 

Over the first five weeks of the 2019 NFL season, Allen and Minshew II have proven that they’re more than capable of calling the shots. 

Kyle “Lovey Dovey” Allen

Allen was the quarterback who came out on top on Sunday as he passed for 181 yards and a touchdown in the victory. He is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to begin his career 4-0 without throwing an interception in his first four career starts and the first undrafted quarterback since Kurt Warner to win his first four starts.

“It helps when you rush for 285 yards,” said Allen. “I’m happy for this team to bounce back from a rough start, and now we’re 3-2. [We have] a long way to go obviously, but I’m happy with the way we fought. We’re never out of the game; we’re going to keep fighting no matter what, and we’re going to win games in different ways because we can.”

The Panthers started 0-2 before Allen replaced former MVP Cam Newton who is dealing with a Lisfranc injury in his foot. Through three games, Allen is averaging 224 yards per game while recording an overall Offensive Share Metric (OSM) grade of 27.71. Newton, meanwhile, averaged more yards per game (286) than Allen but recorded an OSM grade of just 22.05. 

With Allen under center, the Panthers have been given new life while allowing Newton to get back to 100%. They currently sit at 3-2 and a game behind the Saints for the top spot in the NFC South. The Panthers will look to avenge their Week 2 loss to the Buccaneers next week in London. 

Minshew Mania

Minshew II threw for 374 yards with two touchdowns and a 101.9 passer rating in the loss. Both Allen (108.3 passer rating through first four career starts) and Minshew (101.4) joined Jeff Kemp (104.0, 1984) as the only players in the Super Bowl era to have a passer rating of at least 100 with no interceptions through their first four career starts (minimum 20 attempts).

With Minshew throwing passes, second-year wide receiver DJ Chark is No. 5 in the NFL in yards and trails only Chris Godwin in receiving touchdowns. 

‘I just come in and work. I’ve got receivers around me that help me every day,” said Chark “I thank Chris (Conley), I thank (Keelan Cole) because he’s always there for me. But like I said, these guys have never given up on me even last year when the outside had comments, the guys in this locker room never doubted me. I wouldn’t say surprised.”

Minshew added, “He is playing so good, making so many big plays. He is playing with a lot of confidence. I trust him; I am going to give him every opportunity to make plays.”

The Jaguars are 2-3 this season, but outside of their Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, their last two losses have been by one score, and the offense has had the ball and been in a position to win or tie both games. 

That’s a big difference from last season when the Jaguars were losing games by an average of 11 points per game. 

“As a team, I think we are fighting right now. As a team as a whole, nobody is giving up,” said Minshew. “Like I told the team, our third week in a row, I have seen a fight out of everybody. Despite the mistakes, that’s going to happen in the game; it’s all about bouncing back.”

The Jaguars trailed 28-17 on Sunday before pulling the game back within one at 28-27. The team trailed by a touchdown with 1:45 to play and the ball at their five-yard line. With only one timeout to work with, Minshew II marched the offense down the Panthers 30 and took four shots at the end zone in the game’s final 30-seconds. 

“You feel like you always have a chance when he’s in there. You feel like he’s going to go ahead, and he’s going to make a play,” said Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone about Minshew II after the game on Sunday. 

It wouldn’t have been the first time Minshew II had brought his team back. In his first start against the Houston Texans, the former Washington State quarterback drove the Jaguars down the field to score the game-tying touchdown before a failed two-point conversion had them come up a point short. Last week against the Broncos, Minshew II led the Jaguars to score the game-winning field goal. 

The Jaguars will have a big decision to make in a few weeks when Nick Foles is healthy and ready to return from a broken collarbone. Minshew II is 2-2 as a starter and has had the Jaguars in position to win every game, but the Jaguars gave Foles a large contract during the offseason.  

That will be a decision for another day. For now, the Jaguars will enjoy ‘Minshew Mania’ focus on hosting the Saints in Week 6. 

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