A recent ranking wasn’t kind to Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach Urban Meyer.
The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t had many hits when it comes to head coaching hires. Tom Coughlin helped the Jags reach two AFC Championship but his style eventually wore off in Duval. Jack Del Rio had his moments too but he was never able to get the team over the bump. Then, there are the Mike Malarkeys, the Gus Bradleys, and the Doug Marrones, head coaches that might’ve looked promising at first but ended up flopping.
That’s why it was both refreshing and exciting to see the Jaguars make Urban Meyer their seventh head coach in team history. The Ohio native was renowned for turning college programs into powerhouses and winning three FBS National Championships. Although making the transition to the pros is no walk in the park, the former Florida head coach is making everything he can in order to get the Jaguars on the right track. In spite of all the work he’s put in in his short stint, he didn’t get a favorable spot in a recent head coach ranking.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently ranked all 32 head coaches in the NFL and Meyer showed up at 28, one spot ahead of Robert Saleh, and one below Nick Sirianni. Benjamin says that the former Ohio State head coach’s staffing and roster decisions have already created a minor circus in Jacksonville. He adds that if Meyer doesn’t win consistently by Year 2 or 3, he may consider “dipping out early”. On the other hand, Benjamin notes that Meyer has three national championships to his name and believes he can run a team if “his head is in it”.
The Jacksonville Jaguars believe Urban Meyer can turn things around.
When Benjamin questions Meyer’s coaching and staffing decisions, he must be referring to signing tight end Tim Tebow and the Chris Doyle hire. Maybe he’s also talking about drafting running back Travis Etienne in the first round of this year’s draft but he doesn’t really specify.
It’s uncertain if the Florida product will make an impact in Jacksonville, and Etienne should give the offense a boost. Hiring Doyle was certainly something he shouldn’t have done. Nevertheless, every head coach is going to make mistakes. This is in no way an endorsement of Doyle or the decision to hire him. Simply, Meyer made a mistake, took the ‘L’, and moved on.
On the other hand, Tebow won’t be a true tight end. At 33, he doesn’t have time to make a full transition. Instead, the coaching staff could assign him a role in short-yardage and red-zone situations. It’s not a given that his signing will work out and the Jags should have addressed the position in free agency. However, it may be too early to dismiss the 2010 first-round selection.
Meyer needs to prove he can cut it in the pros, so Benjamin’s ranking is fair. He needs to show he isn’t Steve Spurrier 2.0 or the next Bobby Petrino before he’s mentioned along with the best NFL head coaches. On the bright side, he’s given signs for encouragement. Both the Jaguars’ coaching staff and players have praised the former Ohio State head coach for his approach to football. Also, most of the roster moves the team has made this offseason look like upgrades.
This is not the first time a college head coach is trying to take a leap to the pros. Some have made it, some haven’t but Meyer has probably looked at the things that work and the ones that don’t. Otherwise, he may be in for a rude awakening.