Less than a year after he was hired the Jacksonville Jaguars have fired head coach Urban Meyer according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This comes in the middle of a hectic first season for the team filled with too many off-the-field distractions from the head coach.
After less than one year in Jacksonville, Urban Meyer is out as the Jaguars’ head coach, sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 16, 2021
Meyer’s tenure with the team only lasted 13 games. In his first and only season as the team’s head coach Meyer had a 2-13 with his team near the bottom in every statistical category. It wasn’t his on-the-field performance that got him fired during his first season. His off-the-field actions were why the Jaguars let Meyer go. Meyer arguably had the most controversial coaching tenure in NFL History. This shouldn’t have been a complete shock considering he has been involved in controversies at his prior jobs.
According to multiple reports, during his tenure in Jacksonville Urban Meyer has:
- Hired Chris Doyle as the Jaguars director of sports performance. Doyle was accused of making racist and belittling comments to players during his time at Iowa. Shortly after this came out Doyle resigned
- Told the media the team wanted former Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney with their second first-round pick when asked about drafting Clemson running back Travis Etienne with the 25th overall pick.
- Had Trevor Lawrence “compete” with Gardner Minshew for the starting quarterback job and trade Minshew to the Eagles for a conditional sixth-round pick after he lost to Lawrence. He gave valuable training camp reps away from the first overall pick rookie quarterback to give to a veteran they were likely to trade anyways.
- Publicly called out former Pro Bowl wide receiver D.J. Chark for his performance the previous season before coaching a single game for the team.
- Draft a running back with their first-round pick instead of addressing a large need right after rookie sensation James Robinson emerged as a star for the Jaguars offense the year prior.
- Seemingly drafted players based on their high school recruit profiles
- Signed former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow who had not played football since 2015 to play tight end
- Told reporters that they cut players in camp due to their vaccination status
- Traded away 2020 ninth overall pick C.J. Henderson to the Carolina Panthers for only a third-round pick and veteran tight end Dan Arnold. Henderson looked like a solid player when he was healthy his rookie season. Henderson did not see eye to eye with the Jaguars’ coaching staff. Meyer’s explanation for the trade was that he did not fit their scheme.
- Did not fly home with the team after a Thursday night loss to Cincinnati in Week 4. He then proceeded to publicly embarrass himself at a bar with photo and video evidence going viral on social media.
- According to Mike Silver, his actions following his actions after the Week 4 loss, Meyer lost his credibility that he apparently didn’t have much of, to begin with.
- Benched his best offensive player in James Robinson in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Rams because of a fumble. When asked about it later he blamed running back coach Bernie Parmalee for his benching.
- Got Marvin Jones Sr. so angry during a heated argument during practice to the point where he left the team facility until staff members convinced him to come back. The argument was about Meyer’s criticism of the team’s receiver group.
- Told his coaching staff that he is a winner and called his assistant coaches losers. Then proceeded to challenge them making them explain “if they’ve ever won and forced them to defend their resumes”
- Failed to deny any of these outrageous reports and instead tried to downplay them saying they were exaggerations.
- Threatened to fire the source of those reports during a post-game press conference
- Showed poor sportsmanship by barely acknowledging his former coaching assistant Mike Vrabel after a Week 14 loss against his Tennessee Titans
- According to Demetrius Harvey, when Meyer was asked about getting third-round rookie Andre Cisco more playing time “again” he commented, “Cisco is playing a little bit more, I believe, I don’t have the numbers in from of me”. But Cisco had played zero defensive snaps in the previous game against Tennessee in Week 14.
- According to Rick Stroud, Meyer kicked former Jaguars’ kicker Josh Lambo while he was stretching during warmups. Prior to kicking Lambo Meyer said, “Hey Dips**t make your f*cking kicks!”. Meyer then took action attempting to talk to Meyer about it then the Jaguars legal team before going public with it months after he was released from the team.
The belief was that Meyer was on thin ice after the incident that occurred following their Week 4 loss. Within the past two weeks, Jaguars owner Shad Khan had given consideration to letting Meyer go but leaned towards keeping him in the building. Finally, Khan made his decision to let Meyer go hours after the report came out about Meyer kicking Josh Lambo.
This story is not completely settled yet. Now the lawyers for both Urban Meyer and the team must discuss how much of Meyer’s six-year $10+ million a year deal will be paid out to him.
Jacksonville hired Meyer to bring a culture change to an organization that is not known for winning. Prior to his retirement in 2019 Meyer had one of the greatest careers ever by a head coach at the college level. He had great success at Utah (2003-2004), Florida (2005-2010), and Ohio State (2012-18). Meyer is known for winning three national championships during his time at Florida and Ohio State. Jacksonville was hoping Meyer would win that championship pedigree to their team.
They were also excited about the prospects of Meyer coaching number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence. Throughout his college career, Trevor Lawrence was touted as the next great quarterback prospect along with the likes of Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, and John Elway. But Lawerence is near the bottom in every quarterback category except for interceptions where he is tied to the league lead. His lack of development was concerning, to say the least, and a major red flag for Meyer on the field.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan made an official comment shortly after this news broke. His comments were first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 16, 2021
In his comments, Khan stated that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell would be taking over as the team’s interim head coach following Meyer’s firing. He also discussed the thought that went into making this decision. Khan finished his comments by showing faith in general manager Trent Baalke and interim head coach Darrell Bevell to start to build progress for next season in these next four games.
Interim head coach Darrell Bevell has a great track record and is well respected around the league. Just last season Bevell was promoted to the interim head coach position in Detroit following the firing of Matt Patricia. He was also the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks that developed Russell Wilson into the star he is today. Bevell won a Super Bowl during his time in the Seahawks.
It is too soon to think about what could be next for Urban Meyer. It seems unlikely Urban Meyer returns to FOX Sports to his previous job as a College Football analyst, at least right away. But it is a good bet that Meyer’s coaching career at the professional or coaching level is done.