When the Jacksonville Jaguars hired Urban Meyer in January 2021, many outside the organization believed the transition from college to the NFL wouldn’t end well. While Meyer was ultimately fired in December 2021, players realized months before it that the legendary college football coach wasn’t a fit for the NFL.
Meyer immediately showed his inexperience in coaching at the highest level weeks into the job. He hired Chris Doyle as the team’s director of sports performance, just eight months after the Iowa Hawkeyes dismissed Doyle following multiple allegations from players that Doyle use racist language against them.
Meyer immediately faced criticism for the hire, but he stood by it until Doyle resigned 24 hours later. The lack of familiarity with NFL rules showed a few weeks later. The NFL fined him $100,000 and the Jaguars $200,000 for holding contact practices during 11-on-11 drills at the team’s OTAs
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The legendary college football coach continued to struggle with the adjustment to the professional level. Between making No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence compete in a quarterback competition against Gardner Minshew to the failed Tim Tebow experiment at tight end, Meyer seemed in over his head from the outside. It now appears players inside the building also realized quickly that their head coach wasn’t suited for the NFL.
During an appearance on Mike Silver’s podcast Open Mike, Jaguars’ wide receiver Marvin Jones shared exactly when he realized things were not going to work out for Meyer in Jacksonville.
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“Around like the second week of camp. You know, the vibes, and like the meetings. You know if you said one thing, it wouldn’t be true. I was like look, everybody in the league we all have phones and we can all fact-check. Just be real. That’s one of the big things, somebody that’s transparent and somebody that’s real. You know, tell us the truth. Especially in this day in age because you can look up everything and see if it was right or not.”Marvin Jones on when he knew Urban Meyer wouldn’t work as Jacksonville Jaguars head coach, via Open Mike podcast
While the players still supported Meyer publicly early on, their backing of the head coach deteriorated quickly. Reports surfaced early in October that he already lost the locker room, with the Jaguars’ coach losing credibility after lying to plays about the bar video that went viral.
He also couldn’t handle the adversity that came from losing preseason games, lashing out at staffers and later being accused of kicking Jaguars’ kicker Josh Lambo.
Related: Urban Meyer blames ‘fragile’ players, coaches for his failed NFL stint
Asked by Silver about whether Meyer said things about himself to players that were false, Jones acknowledged that was a big part of the problem.
“Yeah, pretty much everything”Jacksonville Jaguars’ Urban Meyer on if Urban Meyer said things about himself that weren’t true
Meyer’s stint in Jacksonville will go down as one of the biggest coaching disasters in NFL history and the damage left from it might take a few seasons to repair. Despite all of the allegations that came out about him as a coach, though, he will likely be coveted by college programs this winter.