The Jaguars’ much-hyped hiring of coach Urban Meyer is on the brink of total disaster. Jacksonville is 2-10 near the end 2021 NFL season coming off a 1-15 campaign with the three-time college football national champion at the helm.
Although Jacksonville has reached a boiling point with Meyer folowing more questionable coaching and the report of dissension throughout the organization, the steam has been building toward a one-and-done breakup for a long time. There were the questionable decisions regarding coaching (Chris Doyle?) and personnel (Tim Tebow?) before the season. During the season, the Jaguars’ on-field performance has been rocky, dragging down the passing and leadership promise of No. 1 overall quarterback Trevor Lawence. There also was Meyer’s post Week 4 off-field indiscretion that has added another distraction to the volatile mix.
Owner Shad Khan made a sizable splashy investment in Meyer, but should be less inclined now to give him an extended chance to turn things around. Don’t rule out a quick firing ahead of the 2022 NFL season based on losing respect from the players along with losing all those games. Should the Jaguars fire Meyer, there are several strong no-brainer targets for Jacksonville’s next coach, all built to produce real results with Lawrence:
Jaguars’ 7 best potential replacements for Urban Meyer
Byron Leftwich, offensive coordinator, Buccaneers
Leftwich, 41, has done tremendous work as Bruce Arians’ protege getting in sync with the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. The former Jaguars starting quarterback perhaps should have already returned to his first NFL home, moving three hours up the road from Tampa.
Leftwich would be an awesome influence on Lawrence with all of his experience. It doesn’t hurt he can now boast about a Super Bowl ring.
Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator, Cowboys
Moore is only 33, but does it really matter with the way he’s turned Dak Prescott and Dallas into a versatile and explosive scoring juggernaut? He’s proved to be mature beyond his years, enough so that offensive-minded Mike McCarthy had to make the necessary smart move and keep him as the play-caller. The former Boise State star quarterback would have fun designing ways to maximize Lawrence’s dazzling skill set of big arm and plus athleticism.
Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator, Chiefs
If the guy helping Brady or Prescott doesn’t sound appealing, how about the guy working with Patrick Mahomes, who’s long overdue for a head-coaching gig somewhere at age 52? Again, everything needs to be about trying to develop Lawrence into an elite quarterback as quickly as possible. Remember that Mahomes was MVP in Year 2, his first season as a full-time starter.
Joe Brady, former offensive coordinator, Panthers
Or why not the guy who worked so brilliantly with Lawrence rival Joe Burrow in college? Again, Khan and the Jaguars shouldn’t care one bit that Brady turned only 32 in September. He helped win a national title in college and has worked well under Sean Payton before the odd dismissal from the Matt Rhule’s staff in Carolina, despite
Shane Waldron, offensive coordinator, Seahawks
Man, with so many worthy replacements, the Jaguars might find it difficult justifying retaining Meyer for Year 2. Waldron, 42, has gone from Sean McVay’s staff with the Rams right into trying to help Russell Wilson into a higher gear, before he and the QB got reined in by more conservative Pete Carroll. Hey, a young Wilson was strong-armed and mobile, too! If the Seahawks can go away from the Bevell-Brian Schottenheimer stodginess, the Jaguars can, too.
Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator, Bills
You’ve got to be kidding me. The guy who has turned Josh Allen into an elite all-around quarterback is also available? The 46-year-old deserves his shot given the wonders he’s worked in Buffalo. He also has invaluable experience with both Nick Saban and Bill Belichick.
Scott Turner, offensive coordinator, Washington
There seems to be a theme here, doesn’t it? Turner, 39, has made Washington’s offense spectacular even with Taylor Heinicke at the helm. He’s well-pedigreed as Norv’s son and Ron Rivera’s protege.
Wow, it sounds like any of these younger offensive minds would be an upgrade over Meyer, giving a lot of pros for Khan to think about vs. what’s looking like a failed college try.