Jaguars owner Shad Khan deserves blame for Urban Meyer debacle

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan at TIAA Bank Field. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan at TIAA Bank Field. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union] /

The Jacksonville Jaguars seem to be headed in the right direction under the leadership of head coach Doug Pederson. However, it hasn’t been an easy road for the Jags, who had to endure the toxic environment Urban Meyer created last year. Owner Shad Khan recently opened up about Meyer’s taxing tenure.

Khan told Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY that he didn’t fire Meyer because of his record but rather because of his integrity or lack thereof as a leader, ‘when you lose the respect, the trust, and an issue of truthfulness, how can you work with something like that?’ The Jaguars’ owner cites truthfulness as a big reason he gave Meyer the boot.

"It was not about wins and losses… I think when you know someone is not truthful, how can you be around someone, OK? We had Doug Marrone here four years. We had Gus Bradley here four years. I have nothing but the utmost respect and friendship with them. That’s why they got the time, because it wasn’t a matter about respect or truth. It was a matter of wins and losses over four years. This is much bigger than that."

Meyer’s stint as the head coach of the Jaguars was surrounded by controversy and scandals. He got off the wrong foot when he hired Chris Doyle, someone who had no business working with players, as the director of sports performance. He was recorded dancing inappropriately with a woman that wasn’t his wife and later caught lying when he tried to share his version of the events. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a report that claimed he had kicked veteran Josh Lambo.

Throughout his tenure in Jacksonville, Meyer alienated players such as running back James Robinson and wide receiver Marvin Jones. The coaching staff and players simply grew jaded, not because they weren’t passionate about playing football but because Meyer kept showing questionable judgment time after time, and instead of trying to correct the issue and change his ways, things seemed to have gotten progressively worse.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan must look at himself in the mirror.

Shad Khan is right when he says that Meyer was a lier and wasn’t fit to lead the Jaguars but he doesn’t assume responsibility for hiring him in the first place. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk once pointed out, the owner never did due diligence and instead went into recruiting mode when he met with Meyer. Had Khan spent time interviewing the former college head coach, he would have realized from the get-go that he wasn’t suited to be the Jags’ head coach.

The problem is from the very beginning of the Jaguars’ search for a head coach after moving on from Doug Marrone was that Khan had set his eyes on Meyer. If the organization had conducted a full and legitimate search, they might have hired someone else and Khan fails to mention this during his conversation with Bell.

The silver lining is that after the Meyer fiasco, the Jaguars ran a more extensie search when looking for a new head coach. In fact, they spent more than a month looking for the right person. Sure, having general manager Trent Baalke on board may have hindered the process but the organization still took the necessary time to come to a decision.

Hindsight is 20/20 and while it’s perfectly fine for Khan to look back and share his thoughts on Meyer’s, he must ensure something similar doesn’t happen ever again. After all, those who don’t learn from their history are doomed to perpetually pick in the top 5 of the draft.

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