Jaguars' Gardner Minshew finally looks like a rookie quarterback

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Gardner Minshew actually looked like a rookie quarterback for the first time this season.

The sixth-round pick who had been so good in relief of Nick Foles had his worst day of the season. He looked jittery in the pocket, misfired on throws and just seemed out of rhythm in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 13-6 loss to New Orleans at TIAA Bank Field.

When he was in rhythm in the first five weeks, he was decisive and got the ball out quickly. He wasn’t able to do that as much against the Saints, who did a good job of taking away the downfield throws to DJ Chark. The Saints sacked Minshew twice, and he was under pressure all day.

This kind of game was bound to happen eventually as defenses got more tape on Minshew and concentrated on stopping Chark. It was a fun ride for the first month-plus of the season, and it can still be fun if Minshew shows he’s able to bounce back next Sunday at Cincinnati.

Biggest hole in the game plan: Not really a hole, but the rest of the pass-catchers didn’t exactly step up with the Saints concentrating on Chark. Dede Westbrook (three for 53 yards) was the only wide receiver other than Chark to catch a pass, and Chris Conley was shut out. They struggled to get separation, and Minshew was forced to hold on to the ball too long. In addition, the Jaguars really felt the loss of tight end James O’Shaughnessy to a torn ACL. Geoff Swaim, Seth DeValve and recently re-signed Ben Koyack aren’t exactly dynamic pass-catchers and combined for two catches for 21 yards. Leonard Fournette helped out in the pass game with six catches, but the Jaguars need more production from the receivers other than Chark.

Pivotal play: The Jaguars had driven the ball into Saints territory – in part thanks to an unnecessary-roughness penalty on Saints LB Demario Davis – but a holding penalty on guard Will Richardson really hurt. The Jaguars ended up going for it on fourth-and-2 from the Saints' 40, and Minshew misfired on a pass to Conley. The Jaguars got the ball once more but gained just 5 yards.