Contextualized Quarterbacking is a charting method that helps break down what to expect from the Draft-eligible quarterbacks. By tracking things like ball placement, depth of target, progressions, and throws into tight windows, the CQ can answer questions about which systems helps certain quarterbacks in certain ways. Next up, Washington State's Gardner Minshew.
Teams will have the strengths and weaknesses of these players in mind over the course of Senior Bowl week, and we will too, as we put them under the microscope to see if they have what it takes to improve on their deficiencies.
Biggest Strength: Mobility to Extend
Minshew's a little jitterbug out there, folks.
As many a color commentator beat to death, Minshew added a new dimension to the Leach offense in that he could work the pocket, negate a pass-rush, and really maximize the space generated downfield by the Air Raid system.
But it isn't just out of the pocket -- it's about getting beyond his first read. Minshew can get happy feet back there when he's forced to wait, but he doesn't break early the way a Jarrett Stidham or Drew Lock will. His Beyond First Read (21% of attempts) numbers are surprising and encouraging for a player from a system that NFL talking heads have so often criticized for weakening a QB's work through progressions.
Now, Minshew benefitted from a great O-line, as he will be a little slow off of his first read. He's gonna need one of those at the NFL level to be successful.
Biggest Weakness: Arm Strength
Minshew's got a pop gun arm, in my opinion. He can add some zest into a tight window; and when his playform is clean, he can get some power out of his hips and drive the football to an intermediate window. But generally speaking, there isn't a great amount of reach in terms of distance on his arm, and that limits his spray chart accordingly.
If you look especially at target and placement maps, you can see how Minshew relies on the middle of the field and the short areas. Some of that has to do with offensive design, but some of it still has to do with the limits of the quarterback. That placement map really illustrates the issue nicely.
Minshew has an NFL-caliber arm if he's only asked to be a backup, in my opinion -- and that's a great role for him moving forward. You can design and execute an effective offense off of this degree of arm talent; I'm certain of it, because I've seen it at the college level.
Goal for Mobile: Hit the Timing Routes
Drops, footwork, and west coast ideas are always heavily featured at the Senior Bowl. THat's annoying at times, but overall, it's a necessary part of the evaluation. Minshew thrives when he's seven yards behind that wall of an offensive line, directing his receivers in an improv situation, throwing into space. The limit and rules of timing in a West Coast scheme are much more rigid, and Minshew must show that he can work in those systems if he's to be viewed as a trustworthy back-up QB.
Overall, I find myself liking Minshew more than I probably should, because of the physical limitations and processing concerns. He's just a guy that you wanna root for, oh so badly.