We’re still unsure how the quarterback class will shake out in the 2019 NFL draft. Things got a little murkier when Justin Herbert announced that he’d be returning to Oregon instead of declaring for the draft.One name worth monitoring going forward is Gardner Minshew http://www.thetitanslockerroom.com/authentic-brynden-trawick-jersey
, the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.Minshew transferred to Washington State in the fall of 2018 and lead Mike Leach’s team to a school-record-tying 10 wins in 2018. Now he’s hoping to further cement his draft status with a strong performance at next month’s Senior Bowl.Minshew recently spoke exclusively with MCM about his lone season at Washington State, how operating as the leader in coach Leach’s system gives him a competitive advantage over the other quarterbacks in this class, and which throws he’d most like to have back.JM: Where were you when you found about your Senior Bowl invite and what was your initial reaction like?GM: Here’s what happened. I was actually in the shower (laughs). Coach [Steve] Spurrier Jr. called me and of course I answer his call. He asked me if I had received any mail from the Senior Bowl. I was like no? He’s like, “well, you’re invited.” That’s how I found out (laughs). I thought it was awesome. That’s basically how the conversation went. I went back to my shower and found the letter in the mail later that day.JM: What’s the lasting impression you’re hoping to leave on the general managers and scouts in attendance?GM: At the game? I want to show them that I’m capable of leading a team. That’s the kinda guy I am. They can count on me every game. I plan on going out there and proving that on every play and during every quarter. I’m gonna give it my all. I hope they realize I’m the kinda guy who puts the team before himself.JM: Which traits of yours would you say improved the most from last year to this year?GM: I would just point to my confidence. I have a lot of confidence in myself. I’ve really become more of a leader over the past year. I have confidence in my ability and I trust the guys around me to go out there and make plays. I play the game with a little bit of reckless abandon.JM: What was the transition like for you this year coming to Washington State?GM: It was a lot of fun. I came here on pretty short notice. I got to know everybody quickly and we developed a relationship rather quickly. We had to build trust in one another. I had great teammates and a coaching staff that was able to get me up to speed on everything. They made it pretty easy on me.JM: How would you describe coach Leach’s offensive system?GM: It’s all about space. We look to attack space and attack what the defense gives us. We spread the ball around to a bunch of different people. We’re always talking about balance, and balance isn’t a run-pass thing, it’s about getting the ball to all the guys on your offense. That’s something I think we do well. It’s all about taking what the defense gives you.JM: How did playing in this offense help get you ready for the next level?GM: One of the biggest things is that this system puts a lot of the decision making on the shoulders of the quarterback. A lot of the time, you get a few plays to choose from pre-snap and it’s my job to put the team in the best position. At other schools, you see a lot of quarterbacks who get a play call and look over to the sideline for guidance on what to do with the ball. That’s not realistic. You can’t play quarterback like that at the next level. In this offense, you’re making decisions, you’re making different reads. Essentially, we throw the ball 50-60 times a game. I rather take the guy that’s throwing it rather than handing it off 50 times a game. I don’t understand why that’s such a big deal. How does that get you ready for the pro’s? Anybody can hand the ball off.JM: You’re not wrong about that. I love how blunt that answer was. Which responsibilities did you have at the line of scrimmage?GM: My job was to put the offense in the best situation possible. It’s not always about trying to find the perfect play, but rather finding the play with the best value based on what the defense gives you. It’s just about putting our offense in a good situation and giving us a chance to succeed.JM: How did coach Leach help you improve your game this year?GM: He put so much trust in me. It really helped raise the level of my confidence. I never had to worry about making a mistake. I was encouraged to attack the defense and to get after them. That’s been a lot of fun for me.JM: He seems to go viral every other day with a different clip or quote. Is he really the character that people think he is?GM: Yeah, that’s who he is. It’s like that every day (laughs). People always ask me for Leach stories and I swear to God I can tell a new story every day. It’s sorta the norm. You get used to it after a while.JM: Is there one throw you’d like to have back? I know that’s a tough question but can you recall one or two in particular?GM: Man, that’s tough. I don’t really dwell on anything like that. It’s all about putting a bad play behind you and rebounding from it. I’d have to point towards something that happened in the USC or Washington games since those are the only two we lost all year. All the other ones don’t really matter because we won those games. You can pick something out from the games against USC or Washington.JM: If you could play with one NFL receiver, who would you choose and why?GM: I’d have to go with Julio Jones. He’s kind of the perfect receiver. He’s a big guy and he plays that way in the air, but he runs like a little guy. He’s just a freak of nature. He has crazy range. He can really go up and get it. He’s always making something happen after the catch. He’d be a lot of fun to play with.JM: I think a lot of people would agree with you on that. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Gardner. You’ve been a great sport. What can fans expect from Gardner Minshew going forward?GM: They can expect the same thing they’ve been getting from me. I’m gonna show up to work every day and try to improve those around me. I’m gonna be a leader for my teammates and continue to play the game with a lot of passion. I’m excited about what’s ahead. I’m gonna lay it all out there. My takeaways from the media’s first chance to talk to the Titans’ new OC..."The Tennessee Titans officially introduced Arthur Smith as the offensive coordinator on Tuesday afternoon with a press conference at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Following Dean Pees’ appearance at the podium, Smith was asked about his rise through the ranks and his plans for the Titans offense going forward. These are the key takeaways I noticed from the press conference...Smith started off by talking about getting hired in 2011 by Mike Munchak and Jerry Gray on the defensive side of the ball and how fortunate he was to continue getting promoted as new coaching staffs rolled through http://www.thetitanslockerroom.com/authentic-taywan-taylor-jersey
, moving from defense to offense to assistant tight ends/OL, to assistant tight ends, to tight ends, and finally to where he is now. Smith was asked of all the offenses and coordinators he’s coached under, which one most closely aligns with his beliefs.One concern that was raised when it was announced that Arthur Smith would be running the same system as Lafleur was to wonder just how well he actually knew this system after being in it for just one season.It’s clear to me now that Smith truly understands the keys, the history, and the nuances of the “West Coast” offense. He was asked to give a percentage on how much the scheme would stay the same compared to what he wants to implement, but he didn’t commit to a percentage, knowing that things will change from the offseason install to the gameplans in the fall. I like that he’s acknowledging the need to be flexible and prepared to adapt while also not really giving anything away about what the offense will actually look like.Smith also confirmed that the language for the offense would not change.This was the expectation, and Mike Vrabel said as much at the Senior Bowl last month, but it’s still nice to hear it from Smith along with his explanation. Comforting even if it is the obvious response. Paul Kuharsky asked, “What’s the key to maximizing Marcus?” Smith said that having familiarity with the system and an improved offense around him would help Mariota improve. Not to read into that answer too much, but it sounds like the Titans will place an emphasis on improving the players around Mariota in an effort to maximize their quarterback’s own abilities. When asked if there’s anything the coaches can do to help ensure that Mariota plays 16 games, Smith said there are plenty of things they can try to accomplish, and that there are a lot of factors in keeping the quarterback upright, including playcalling, understanding week-to-week matchups, changing the quarterback’s launch point, and having a successful run game Josh Kline Jersey
, and capped it off by saying, “There definitely will be a conscious effort to keep him healthy.”Jim Wyatt raised the question about Derrick Henry and how involved he’ll be in the offense moving forward. Smith mentioned Henry a few times unprompted, and he definitely sounds excited to have the young running back as a part of his offense. When asked if the Titans would remain a primarily zone-blocking concept team, Smith was pretty noncommittal. He said that while zone is a great starting point for the team, Henry and Lewis, and even David Fluellen (or “whoever else on our roster that we’re going to hand the ball to”), could fit into a multitude of schemes. Smith talked about the ways Mike Vrabel will help prepare him to call plays, something he’s never done before, throughout spring practices and training camp.Obviously the ability to call plays is the number one question mark concerning Art Smith’s promotion. We won’t know how well he can do it until he actually does it, but it’s nice to hear the ways they’ll be practicing this all-important aspect of his new job. Jim Wyatt asked what the ideal run-pass ratio would look like at the end of the season. Smith responded by saying, “Again that’s another thing you don’t want to put a number on,” noting that different games will call for different ratios of run and pass. “We’ll try to be as balanced as we can, but again we’re going to do what we have to do to win a game.”He mentioned that as long as everyone is healthy, “12” and “13” personnel will be big parts of the gameplan because of the mismatches they can create with the tight ends on the roster.Smith talked about how playing “physical” doesn’t just mean in the run game, that it applies to pass protection, how you finish plays with the ball in your hands, if you’re running with your teammates downfield, and added that the “passing game will evolve to fit our players’ skillsets.” Mickey Ryan pointed out the advantage Smith has taking over this position with a roster he’s already familiar with. Smith expanded on that point:When asked about his family background and his father’s status as the billionaire founder of FedEx, Smith gave a great answer.Someone asked Smith http://www.thetitanslockerroom.com/authentic-corey-davis-jersey
, “Do you think it’s more important now for fans to have kind of a high-powered entertaining offense more so than it was 5 or 10 years ago?”Smith discussed how he’s had a chance to get up and present something in front of the team under every staff he’s worked for, and how that experience should prepare him well for his new role. Today’s press conference gave us an outstanding first impression of the Titans new offensive coordinator. He quelled many of the concerns that were raised about his lack of coordinator experience by exuding a quiet confidence. His answers were intelligent. He wasn’t reliant on “coach speak,” answering most questions in detail while still managing to avoid giving away any secrets about how the offense will actually operate.Coach Art showed off some personality, including a bit of humor when he joked that he “failed upward” to achieve this position, and later said he hopes that the players who endorsed him when he got this job will “still feel that way in Week 2.” He also threw in a funny comment about Gregg Williams being a “genius, a Mensa, and you can tell Gregg I said that,” drawing laughs from the room. Smith has a humble, hard-working mentality that shined today. He consistently used words and phrases like “luckily” or “I was very fortunate,” passing off the credit for his hard work and success to factors outside his control.Despite his reluctance to admit it, Arthur Smith got to the position he now holds by working hard and contributing wherever he was able. Whether or not he is capable of designing an offense and calling the right plays to maximize the talent on the roster is yet to be seen, but he’s not shown us any reason to be concerned thus far. Overall, King Arthur came across as a very intelligent, relatable, and hard-working coach who is determined to be successful and do whatever it takes to win football games. I’m behind Art Smith 100%.