Is Jaguars HC Urban Meyer’s lack of NFL experience a red flag?

Urban Meyer, head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Dispatch photo by Kyle Robertson)
Urban Meyer, head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Dispatch photo by Kyle Robertson) /

Head coach Urban Meyer built successful football programs at the collegiate level. Nevertheless, he has never led an NFL team before. Should the Jacksonville Jaguars be concerned about his lack of experience in the pros?

The Jaguars haven’t been very good for a while but they hit rock bottom in 2020 when they lost 15 consecutive games. The organization was aware half measures were not going to be enough to turn things around, so they cleaned house and hired head coach Urban Meyer to oversee a rebuild.

Meyer has won three FBS Championships, two at Florida and one at Ohio State. Back in college, he turned every program he coached into a powerhouse, so the Jaguars expect he can have that kind of success in the NFL. Nevertheless, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes Meyer’s lack of experience at the pro level could be a red flag.  Knox wonders if Meyer is the right head coach for rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars. He says the decision to sign Tim Tebow wasn’t well-received and points out that making the leap from college to the NFL is not easy.

"While plenty of coaches have successfully made the leap from college to the pros, the NFL is a different game and requires a different management style. We’ll find out how it pans out for Meyer before long, but his lack of NFL experience is a red flag."

Urban Meyer will try to make the difficult transition to the pros.

Jacksonville was one of the most attractive head coaching jobs earlier this year, as they had the most cap space in the league. Moreover, they held two first-round selections, including the first overall pick in this year’s selection meeting. For that reason, the Jags had the chance to pursue the top head-coaching candidates in this hiring cycle. In the end, they settled on Meyer.

Making the transition from college to pros is no walk in the park. Jimmy Johnson and Jim Harbaugh pulled it, and so did Tom Coughing, arguably the most successful head coach in Jaguars’ history. On the other hand, Steve Spurrier, Bobby Petrino, Chip Kelly, and Greg Schiano couldn’t cut it in the NFL. For that reason, it’s kind of difficult to predict whether Meyer will have success in Jacksonville.

On the bright side, there are some encouraging signs. Meyer has shown he cares for his players but won’t hesitate to be honest with them. He has given returning players recommendations on things they need to improve. He’s been straightforward in his approach but he has also been respectful. Furthermore, the Florida head coach has put an emphasis on getting players everything they need to perform at the highest level, whether it’s nutrition or an outstanding group of trainers.

Urban Meyer has encountered some bumps on the road.

No NFL head coach is going to have a perfect track record and Meyer is no different. Early in his tenure in Jacksonville, he made the poor decision of hiring Chris Doyle as the director of sports performance. However, Doyle resigned just one day after his hire was announced due to the backlash it generated. Back at Iowa, he was accused of racism and his tenure was filled with poor judgment, and mistreatment of players.

Looking back, Meyer could’ve done a better job of vetting Doyle but at least he didn’t double down on his mistake, which shows he’s willing to listen. Also, the head coach has surrounded himself with a group of very talented football minds. Moving forward, he will probably lean more on those coaches who have been around the NFL longer.

Meyer has shown his approach works and he’s shown he’s willing to adjust. If he can quickly adapt to the NFL, the Jaguars will start winning games soon.

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