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5 Jacksonville Jaguars coaching candidates to replace Urban Meyer

Andrew Buller-Russ

We have now hit the end of Urban Meyer’s NFL coaching career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Over almost as quickly as it began, he simply didn’t bring anything good to Duval. One could argue, Meyer brought with him more bad than good.

This now includes allegations from a former Jaguars player that Meyer physically assaulted him during the preseason.

With that, it’s not a surprise that Jaguars team owner Shahid Khan pulled the plug on the risky Urban Meyer experiment after just 13 games.

Here are five head coach candidates to replace Urban Meyer in Jacksonville.

Kyle Shanahan trades California sunshine for Florida beaches

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at San Francisco 49ers
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It may be unlikely for the San Francisco 49ers to fire their head coach before even getting a chance to see what the offensive-minded Kyle Shanahan can do with Trey Lance, who they traded their future for. But then again, maybe there’s a bigger reason why Shanahan has given his rookie so few opportunities.

Should the 49ers move on from Shanahan, the Jaguars should at the very least bring him in for an interview. What are his ideas to help develop Trevor Lawrence? How would he operate a more effective running game? Travis Etienne? Could he play a Deebo Samuel role within Shanahan’s offense? Probably.

Shanahan sounds like the perfect fit for the Jaguars. They already have many pieces in place for a Shanahan-like offense to thrive. He has plenty of experience and is young enough where the team could make a five-year commitment with zero concerns of him getting cold feet. A career record of 36-41 may scare the Jaguars away, but it’s better than gambling on another unproven college coach based on their recent history.

Jags stick with college coaching legend, hire Pete Carroll

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Could Pete Carroll really be on the outs after 12 years coaching the Seattle Seahawks? It’s certainly possible the organization hits the reset button this offseason. Especially if Russell Wilson wants a trade as rumors have linked to the past few seasons. Should the Seahawks trade Russ, there’s no guarantee they would want to stick with the 70-year old Carroll as they look to rebuild.

At the same time, would Carroll have interest in starting all over again with a new franchise? Tough to say, but there’s no indication the peppy, competitive Carroll is ready to call it quits. The idea of being able to take over a team with a potential franchise quarterback such as Trevor Lawrence may be too hard to pass up. Carroll has seen how difficult life is without Russ at the helm, whereas the Jags have seen first-hand what hiring an unprepared NFL coach gets them.

Carroll not only has plenty of wisdom and respect, he also has a Super Bowl ring and 11 years of experience coaching an NFL team to the playoffs. The Jaguars need to do everything possible to become an annual contender and since Carroll’s been with the Seahawks, they always have been a good bet to go deep into the postseason each year.

Carroll has a 150-102-1 coaching record in his NFL career, a .593 win percentage. The win percentage for the Jaguars franchise sits at .418. Established in 1995, the Jaguars would have been better off hiring Carroll back in 1995 when Carroll was fired from the New York Jets after his first season as an NFL head coach.

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Stealing Kellen Moore from Dallas

NFL: Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

One of the rising stars among the NFL coaching circles, former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore has quickly developed into quite the bright offensive mind since his retirement from the NFL in 2017. The Dallas Cowboys were eager to hire Moore as their QB coach immediately in 2018. Moore was promoted to their offensive coordinator and play-caller after just one season, where he’s remained since.

In the three seasons Moore has been the Cowboys’ OC, they have operated an offense that’s top-six in both yards gained and points scored twice. The other time, Dak Prescott missed 11 games due to injury. There’s a fair argument to be made that Prescott is the one making Moore look so good, but it’s a risk the Jaguars should be willing to take.

If a 32-year old Moore can work the same magic with Lawrence as he is with Prescott, the Jaguars could land their next head coach for the next 15 years, if not more. Since Shahid Khan likes taking unconventional routes, hiring Moore wouldn’t be all that unfamiliar.

Jacksonville Jaguars give Doug Pederson another chance

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars
Aug 15, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson looks on during the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

In 2017, Doug Pederson led the Philadelphia Eagles to their first ever Super Bowl victory. Where did it get him today? Well, they fired him after a 4-11-1 record in 2020 and now Pederson is out of the NFL in 2021. But that is unlikely to last long for one of just four individuals to ever win a ring, both as a player and as a head coach.

In five seasons coaching the Eagles, they went:

  • 7-9 in 2016
  • 13-3 in 2017 – Super Bowl victory
  • 9-7 in 2018
  • 9-7 in 2019
  • 4-11-1 in 2020

So, why is Pederson out of the league? Some were quite upset about Pederson possibly deliberately improving the Eagles’ draft position (tanking) by playing Nate Sudfeld over Jalen Hurts during the final game in 2020. However, I’d bet Shahid Khan would be willing to shave his mustache if someone told him the Jaguars could have a similar five-year stretch.

Sure, the Eagles drastically dropped off after their 2017 season, but they also suffered many injuries, including to their once MVP-candidate Carson Wentz. Pederson is 42-37-1 in his coaching career, including a 4-2 postseason record, which includes the Philly Special Super Bowl LII. The Jacksonville Jaguars could do a lot worse.

Jacksonville Jaguars hire Byron Leftwich

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

For the Jaguars, it’s now all about changing a culture that just hasn’t been indicative of success. So, why not go for a player-friendly coach over whatever it is that Meyer was in his less than a season with the team? Already seen as a top-notch head coach candidate, Leftwich could make a ton of sense.

Sure having Tom Brady helps. He’s made many mediocre coaches look great. With that Said, Tampa Bay’s offense ranks first in yards and points with Leftwich calling the shots this season. From a culture standpoint, Leftwich was the Jaguars’ starting quarterback from 2003-06 — leading them to two winning seasons in the process. The Jags have accomplished that feat just twice since.