Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan hired head coach Urban Meyer confident the college football legend could fix the culture of this NFL franchise. Despite a rocky first seven games, it seems Khan’s confidence in Meyer hasn’t suffered a blow.
Things looked grim for Jacksonville entering Week 6. With an 0-5 record, a loss to the Miami Dolphins in London with a bye week immediately following would have made a winless season feel even more likely. But thanks to rookie Trevor Lawrence and clutch kicker Matthe Wright, the Jaguars gave Meyer his first NFL win.
Coming out of the bye, the spotlight is again on Meyer. Still widely viewed as one of the likeliest candidates to be fired, Khan expressed confidence in his head coach in an interview with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
- Urban Meyer record (NFL): 1-5
Khan cited the team’s fight in its comeback victory over Miami and the players’ cohesiveness as signs of things turning around. He ‘absolutely’ has faith in Meyer helping build the Jaguars into a successful franchise and a source inside the organization told Rapoport that Khan is ‘all-in’ on Meyer as head coach.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Khan is backing Meyer. He targeted the college football icon even before former head coach Doug Marrone was fired. The Jaguars moved quickly to hire Meyer and with the team coming off a victory and a bye, positive sentiments aren’t a surprise.
But it remains possible the situation could change. Since he took over as the Jaguars’ head coach, Meyer has made a series of mistakes that raised questions about his ability to work in the NFL.
Early troubles for Urban Meyer in Jacksonville
Meyer immediately assembled his coaching staff upon accepting the job. One of his first moves was hiring longtime friend Chris Doyle, who was let go by Iowa after multiple claims of his racism towards student-athletes. Doyle resigned a day later after Meyer faced immediate criticism for the hire.
During minicamp, the NFL docked Jacksonville $200,000 and two OTA practices in 2022 and hit Meyer with a $100,000 fine after the team broke held contact 11-on-11 drills. There were also reports about his anger during the preseason resulting in him lashing out at coaches.
Then, the bar video came out. While the public reacted to Meyer’s actions with the young woman at his bar, players and coaches took issue with the other circumstances. Meyer told the team he was staying behind after the Thursday Night Football Game to visit his family at Ohio.
When the video emerged, Meyer made things worse with his subsequent actions. He canceled a team meeting, which players viewed as him shying away out of guilt, and then held group meetings. His apology fell flat with the team, who laughed at him after he left the room. Then, during his apology press conference, the NFL coach brought star quarterback Trevor Lawrence into the mess by mentioning his bachelor party.
Meyer has backing from ownership, but support within the locker room may not last. If the Jaguars start racking up the losses again and his action and demeanor inside the building don’t change, Jacksonville will have a major problem that might only be resolved with a coaching change.