The Indianapolis Colts organization did their due diligence with Anthony Richardson’s shoulder, to make sure that it was handled properly and managed with the correct care from both the doctors and his team. With surgery now confirmed, and Gardner Minshew stepping in as the starter, fans assumed the Colts would be just fine. But, a poor, turnover-riddled performance in Jacksonville has tempered the pandemonium and expectations of the franchise.
The importance of Minshew as a backup quarterback cannot be understated. The once unimpressive roster spot has changed as of late in importance, especially for contending teams and ones with mobile quarterbacks. While the mobility aspect has really revolutionized the position it has brought injury, making health a potential stumbling block. Most of the best backup QBs in the league are experienced players that either couldn’t quite make it as full-time starters for a litany of reasons and others that got upended by their youth counterparts.
Minshew is no different. He has backed up Trevor Lawrence, Jalen Hurts and now Anthony Richardson. Backups are best as spot starters that can come in and keep teams afloat or in a playoff race, respectively. They are especially effective as spot starters during the mid game because the other team is typically not prepared for that skill set for the week. Which we have seen exactly that with Minshew this season.
Gardner Minshew has already had highs and lows
Minshew was called on as a fill in this season and has seen two games where he has been the starter. The first game against Baltimore, he led the team to a 22-19 victory, and while he was far from flawless, he kept them in the game and allowed the special teams to put the game away with some clutch field goals by Matt Gay. His second start did not go as well, as he was responsible for all four team turnovers as he had one lost fumble and three interceptions against division rival Jacksonville. He looked rattled after the fumble and had some nerves going up against the team that drafted him. His spot starts were better as the other team had to adjust to the different style of play that Minshew provides.
While his spot starts have been great and his starts have been choppy, Minshew is without question still the right back up for this team going forward. Minshew has the respect of not only the players but the coaching staff. You could see it after the Baltimore game in how the locker room reacted to the victory and that the team is comfortable with whoever is under center.
Minshew has the confidence as well to be successful for the franchise. He has been with the team throughout the entire offseason and is going on three years of work in this complex Shane Steichen offense. The Colts have no need to trade for another backup with Minshew’s experience, as Richardson has proven to be the future of this franchise, and there probably aren’t many backups well thought of as Minshew is. With the expectations changing in Indianapolis now, Minshew could be the perfect choice to lead them through the season and continue to develop the young talent as we look towards the return of Anthony Richardson in 2024.