How Minshew’s growth in offense allowed Eagles to trade Flacco


The Eagles traded away Joe Flacco earlier this week and got back a conditional sixth-round draft pick.

That only happened because of Gardner Minshew.

“If we didn't feel like Gardner was ready to be the backup,” Sirianni said, “then that wouldn't have been a thing that we would have pursued.”

Minshew arrived via trade in late August, which means he didn’t have training camp to learn the Eagles’ offense. Since then, in addition to running scout team, he’s been putting in extra work to learn Sirianni’s scheme. That means there was a lot of extra work on his plate the last couple months.

But the 25-year-old impressed his coaches.

“I think he's really intelligent,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. “He's a football junkie.”

While Sirianni splits reps at some positions during the week, the starting quarterback gets 100 percent of the practice reps.

But Sirianni said that when Hurts is running the offense, Minshew stands away from the play and runs through it on his own to get the mental rep. And when the Eagles have their developmental practice periods, he’s shown his ability in the scheme.

“He is growing in the offense,” Sirianni said. “You see that in our developmental periods. Knowing where to go with the football, knowing what we are asking him to do, what receivers are going to do etc.

“We already knew he could play, that’s why he’s here in the first place. So, it’s really what we are confident in is that he is growing in the offense. And that’s because he puts so much work into it.”


Having Minshew as the backup certainly seems to open the door to potentially making a quarterback change later in this season if things don’t get better for the Eagles’ offense or for Hurts. But there doesn’t seem to be anything imminent.

For now, Minshew will remain the backup. But he’ll be active for the first time as an Eagle on Sunday in Detroit. He has been a healthy scratch for the first seven weeks of the season.

While in Jacksonville, Minshew had some good moments. In 23 career games (20 starts) with the Jaguars, he completed 62.9% with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. MinshewMania ran out and the Jags had a 7-13 record in his starts, but he clearly had some success in this league.

And Minshew was a player Sirianni studied when Minshew was coming out of Washington State as a sixth-round pick in 2019.

“We'd had personal experiences with Gardner,” Sirianni said. “Obviously coming out in the Draft, we knew how smart he was coming out in the Draft. We spent a lot of time with him there. Then obviously, playing in the same division as him. So, we knew a lot about him, and then we did our homework on the things that we hadn't seen in the last couple years, like when he wasn't playing the Colts.”

While Hurts on Wednesday said he learned a lot from Flacco in their time together, he also said Minshew has a “great personality” and has been a strong addition to the quarterback room.

And, like the coaches, he’s seen Minshew pick up this offense too.

“He goes out there, leads, makes the throws, does what he needs to do,” Hurts said. “He’s been great.”

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