Throughout last season, Gardner Minshew and DJ Chark looked like two guys who had been playing football together for years. Chark was Minshew’s go-to target in the rookie’s surprising season, catching four touchdowns in Minshew’s first four games as the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Minshew-Chark combination was impressive from the start, which makes Minshew’s admission regarding his relationship with Chark entering his rookie year even more surprising.
“I mean, this time last year we didn’t get to work together very much at all,” Minshew said on a conference call this week. “We had a few reps in the preseason and then we were kind of throw in, in the regular season. This offseason, we got a lot of good work with DJ. …
“Like I was talking about in the beginning, just communication. You know, really understanding what he’s thinking in certain things and me explaining to him what the goal of the play is, what I’m thinking. I think that’s going to allow us just to understand each other a lot better and hopefully be on the same page more this year.”
Since Minshew and Chark didn’t have many reps together in last year’s preseason, it isn’t crazy to expect a step forward this year into possibly being the best QB/WR duo in the division. Chark caught 52 passes for 720 yards and five touchdowns in Minshew’s 12 starts last season, earning his first Pro Bowl appearance at the end of the year.
While the pair started off hot, Chark cooled off once Minshew returned as the starting quarterback in Week 14, catching just 13 passes for 174 yards and no scores. An ankle sprain also limited Chark and forced him to miss one game.
Minshew is entering the season as the unquestioned starting quarterback in Jacksonville, and with Chark the clear No. 1 option in the passing game, the receiver is certainly capable of having a huge 2020 season.
“I think the more reps, the more communication, the better we’ll be,” Minshew said. “When he can kind of expect what’s coming and I can know what’s coming from him, I think it allows us to be a lot better and play a lot faster.”