Colts’ Gardner Minshew returns to Jacksonville to face Jaguars

The Indianapolis Colts are now Gardner Minshew’s team for at least four games — and possibly longer.

With No. 4 overall pick Anthony Richardson (throwing shoulder) placed on injured reserve, Minshew can remind his former team about his skills when the Colts visit the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC South battle on Sunday.

Minshew spent two seasons (2019-20) with Jacksonville and passed for 37 touchdowns against only 11 interceptions in 23 games (20 starts) while producing outbreaks of “Minshew Mania.” But the Jaguars weren’t a good club, received the No. 1 overall pick of the 2021 draft and selected fellow quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Lawrence and Minshew spent a lot of time together in the offseason and training camp, but when it became clear Lawrence was ready to start right away, the Jaguars dealt Minshew to the Philadelphia Eagles shortly before the start of the 2021 season.

“He’s a good player, a smart player,” Lawrence said of Minshew on Wednesday. “I learned some things from him for sure, especially being a young player coming into this league.

“He’s played really well in his career up to this point. … I have a lot of respect for him. Good opportunity (for him). He’s playing well this season.”

Minshew says he harbors no hard feelings against Jacksonville (3-2).

“Not really, man,” Minshew said. “Just excited to get out there and play football. Wherever, whenever, it’s always a good time.”

Minshew won his previous start this season and also has seen ample time when Richardson has been injured during games. He is completing 68.7 percent of his passes for 553 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Last Sunday, Minshew completed 11 of 14 passes for 155 yards in relief of the injured Richardson during a 23-16 home win over the Tennessee Titans.

Colts coach Shane Steichen declined to rule out a season-ending injury for Richardson on Wednesday, so the keys to the offense could belong to Minshew for most — if not all — of the rest of the season.

“He’s an elite processor of the game, and you’ve got a guy that can process the game quickly and makes quick decisions,” Steichen said of Minshew. “He’s really good, he’s accurate, he knows where to go with the football at the right time and the right place, and he’s been awesome for us.”

Indianapolis (3-2) is preparing running back Jonathan Taylor for a bigger workload in his second game of the season. Taylor (ankle) had just 18 yards on six carries against the Titans, but his services weren’t necessary with Zack Moss rushing for a career-high 165 yards.

The Jaguars are coming off a 25-20 victory over the Buffalo Bills to end a two-game stay in London. Jacksonville beat the Atlanta Falcons 23-7 the previous week.

Travis Etienne Jr. compiled a career-best 184 total yards (136 rushing, 48 receiving) against the Bills. He also rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

“Travis is definitely someone that we can lean on in the run game and the pass game to help us overcome some of those third downs,” Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said. “Overall, I thought Etienne had an outstanding, probably his best, game of the year.”

Lawrence passed for 315 yards and one touchdown in the victory.

In Week 1, Lawrence threw for two touchdowns (still a season best) while passing for 241 yards and one interception as the Jaguars recorded a 31-21 road win over the Colts. Jacksonville scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a 26-yard rushing score by Etienne with 4:08 remaining.

Star outside linebacker Josh Allen had three sacks in the contest and has six for the season, tied for second most in the NFL.

Colts standout linebacker Zaire Franklin had a career-best 17 tackles in Week 1 and has at least 12 in each game this season. He leads the NFL with 69 tackles.

Indianapolis was without tight end Mo Alie-Cox (concussion) and offensive tackle Braden Smith (foot/wrist) at Wednesday’s practice.

For the Jaguars, receiver Zay Jones and offensive tackle Walker Little both missed practice with knee injuries.