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Will Minshew Mania return in a potential start versus the Ravens?

Exploring Gardner Minshew II’s potential return as a starter for the Colts, examining his prep and the team’s confidence in his capabilities.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts’ preparation for their upcoming game against the Baltimore Ravens is trending toward a starting opportunity for Gardner Minshew II as Anthony Richardson recovers from a concussion. With the flair of “Minshew Mania” accompanying him from Jacksonville to Philadelphia and now to Indianapolis, it won’t be surprising to see fans get caught up in fun, particularly if Minshew looks as comfortable in Shane Steichen’s offense as he did last week in Houston.

A Closer Look at Minshew’s Preparations:

In an interview on Wednesday, Coach Shane Steichen noted that Minshew getting extra time with the first-team offense in practice leading up to the Ravens will benefit the offense.

Obviously, the timing with the receivers, the offensive line, the protection calls – all those different things definitely benefits going with the ones in practice. But credit to him, what he does week in and week out to get prepared for games and to do what he did in that game, to come off the bench and have the success he had, it shows how prepared he is. But to get reps with the ones today will be good for him.

He went on to share how the work ethic has extended back into the off-season, including OTAs and training camp.

When a guy prepares and gives everything he’s got and he goes out and has success like he’s been since he’s gotten here in OTAs, training camp and doing what he did in Houston, I think you earn that trust right away by your work ethic.

Steichen’s previous experience with Minshew in Philadelphia has seemingly expedited the trust-building process with the Colts. It’s the way Minshew prepares that makes all the difference. According to Steichen, Minshew’s work ethic from the offseason, training camps, and games clearly lays the foundation for the trust he quickly amasses with his team.

Minshew’s perspective is enlightening, too. He sees the benefit of getting regular reps as a chance to tighten communication lines with his team.

You just get a little tighter with the communication with the guys, get a little more reps, time on task. But you know, I feel really good about how the coaching staff prepares us and always feel ready to go.

As he aptly put it, this unpredictability in backup roles is exactly “what you sign up for” in the NFL.

Earning Trust From Teammates

Wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. offers valuable insight into Minshew’s role in the team. His asserted that Minshew possibly knows the offense better than anyone else—thanks to his time in Philadelphia and now under Coach Steichen in Indianapolis.

Pittman Jr.’s respect for Minshew goes beyond the playbook.

He’s just a genuine guy, a leader, and he just loves ball. When you get guys like that, I mean you could play with anybody. He just loves it. Every single time he’s in there, he’s juiced up and he’s ready to play.

Minshew’s authentic nature, leadership qualities, and passion for the game are winning respect in the locker room and on the field. His energy on the sidelines and after games feeds into that mania. He’s not just there to play; he’s there to make a statement.

What’s Next

We will see where the week takes the Colts. It seems unlikely that Anthony Richardson will start with a shortened week of preparation in his rookie season. If Gardner Minshew proved anything in Houston, it’s that he has no intention of allowing his backup status to impact how he plays the game. If he plays, and if he can be as efficient as he was in Houston, it will get the attention of fans.