Saying that Urban Meyer’s tenure as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars was bad is an understatement but after a recent article by The Athletic, it might have been worse than it originally seemed and that’s saying something.
Meyer’s time in Jacksonville was filled with dysfunction, poor coaching, and scandals. And Jayson Jenks and Mike Sando of The Athletic recently reached out to players and coaches that experienced firsthand what it was like to work with the former Ohio State coach.
In the article (you have to have a subscription for this one), Sando and Jenks report that Meyer wasn’t truthful when he said he had “conducted a six-month deep dive into the NFL” and was unfamiliar with the league’s star players.
"Meyer said he conducted a six-month deep dive on the NFL that included interviews with his former Florida and Ohio State players as well as a study of the salary cap. But multiple sources said Meyer was unfamiliar with star players around the league, including 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel, Seahawks safety Jamal Adams and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, a three-time NFL defensive player of the year."
Former Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark says there was optimism surrounding Meyer’s arrival but “it was impossible to succeed the way he was running the ship”. Moreover, he says the head coach routinely threatened to fire coaches and players. The whole article is worth your time and it includes first-hand accounts of Meyer’s taxing stint with the Jaguars.
What was Jaguars owner Shad Khan thinking when he hired Urban Meyer?
When you are in a toxic relationship, red flags are just flags, and Jaguars owner Shad Khan was so fixated with Urban Meyer that he failed to see all his flaws. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted a while back, Khan was in recruiting, not hiring mode, when he courted Meyer, and instead of vetting him and doing due diligence, he try to convince him into becoming the head coach. That from the start should have been a cause for concern.
The fact that Meyer was given plenty of power didn’t help matters. Had there been a check-in-balance kind of system in place, things might have not been as bad but the former Jaguars head coach routinely abuse his power. Looking back, it’s fair to wonder why Khan thought that hiring Meyer was going to help the organization get over the hump.
Looking back, there aren’t many positives that can be salvaged from Meyer’s tenure with the Jags other than making sure the organization goes through a legitimate hiring process, which they did when they landed Doug Pederson. Then again, this was a costly mistake as the Jaguars wasted Trevor Lawrence’s rookie year.
Meyer set the Jaguars back and it will be up to Doug Pederson, general manager Trent Baalke, and owner Shad Khan to clean the mess. On the bright side, they’re off to a good start. They’ve made several moves in free agency that added talent to a roster in dire need of it. Also, Lawrence will have the weapons and coaching that he should have had in 2021 and that should be a reason for optimism moving forward.