The Urban Meyer experiment lasted only 13 games before the Jacksonville Jaguars fired the universally loathed head coach who led the last-place Jaguars to a 2-11 record.
Meyer was on a collision course with a one-and-done season, but Jaguars owner Shad Khan severed ties with his rookie head coach with four games remaining.
“After deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban’s tenure with our team, I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone,” Khan said in an official statement. “I informed Urban of the change this evening. As I stated in October, regaining our trust and respect was essential. Regrettably, it did not happen. In the spirit of closure and recharging our players, staff and fan base, I will not comment further until some point following the conclusion of the NFL season.”
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell takes over as interim head coach. Bevell took over for the Detroit Lions when they fired Matt Patricia in the middle of last season. Bevell went 1-4 with the Lions at the end of last season.
The Jaguars have a rematch against the Houston Texans (2-11) on Sunday. The Texans defeated the Jaguars 37-21 in Week 1, which set the tone for the season. Heading into Week 15, the Jaguars were favorites against the Texans. The point spread moved from -4 to -5 after news broke of Meyers’ firing.
Meyer won three national championships as a college head coach, but his collegiate tactics didn’t work at the professional level. He lost the locker room fairly early into the season and, in recent weeks, turned on his coaching staff, throwing them under the bus in press conferences. Meyer even called out assistant coaches in a team meeting, making fun of their resumes and asking to see their championship rings. He must have forgotten that Bevell, the Jags’ offensive coordinator, actually won a Super Bowl with the 2013 Seattle Seahawks.
Players openly mocked Meyer in the locker room, especially after the bar dancing incident on the weekend following a loss against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football.
“Bill Belichick woulda never been caught dead in a bar dancing, let alone after four straight losses,” one anonymous member of the team leaked to the press.
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence tried to talk sense into Meyer in recent weeks. He also lobbied for running back James Robinson to get more playing time. Meyer mishandled Robinson, but passed the blame onto running backs coach Bernie Parmalee for benching Robinson for fumbles.
Kicked the wrong guy
The final straw for Khan was the kicking the kicker incident. After that story broke on Wednesday, Khan and the Jaguars fired Meyer. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Meyer never referred to special teams players by their name, but instead, referred to them as “kicker” or “sh-tbag.” Meyer kicked ex-Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo during warm-ups.
“I’m in a lunge position, with left leg forward, right leg back,” said Lambo. “Urban Meyer, while I’m in that stretch position, comes up to me and says, ‘Hey Dipsh-t, make your f–king kicks!’ And kicks me in the leg.”
Lambo called the kick a “five out of 10,” and quickly confronted Meyer. Meyer snapped back, “I’m the f–king head coach and I’ll f–king kick anyone I want.”
The Jaguars cut Lambo after three games.
During the preseason, Meyer failed to convert Tim Tebow to a tight end, considering he hadn’t played pro football since 2012. Tebow played quarterback under Meyer at Florida and won two titles in 2006 and 2008.
Meyer also played head games with his quarterbacks in the preseason, and he refused to name a starter. Everyone expected Lawrence, the top pick in the draft, would start and Gardner Minshew would serve as a backup and mentor to the rookie. Instead of getting Lawrence the necessary snaps in preseason, he squandered a valuable opportunity while the two split reps in practice. In the end, Meyer tapped Lawrence to start in Week 1, and traded Minshew to the Philadelphia Eagles. Minshew was a huge personality in the locker room and the fans adored him.
Rumors: Meyer to Lousiville?
Meyer entered the season as one of the top three favorites to win NFL Coach of the Year. Clearly, that was a major miscalculation on the part of bookmakers.
Last month, there were numerous rumors that Meyer would return to college next season. Meyer eyed the head coaching job at USC, but Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley snatched up that coveted job.
Meyer also eyed the Notre Dame job, but the Fighting Irish quickly filled that head coaching vacancy.
Louisville needs a new head coach, and Meyer is currently rumored to take that job. If not, we think Meyer could be a perfect fit for the Texas State Fightin’ Armadillos.