Jacksonville Jaguars ownership hired Urban Meyer as head coach in January 2021 for his respected name and the belief he could build a program that players would quickly buy into. Now, Meyer could be headed for an exit in 2022 with the locker room lost for good.
The fallout from the bar video was just the latest in a situation that keeps getting worse for Jacksonville. With the losses quickly piling up, Meyer has seemingly lost more and more support within the entire Jaguars’ organization.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora wrote Sunday that while owner shad Khan is currently contemplating Meyer’s termination, many within the Jaguars’ organization believe the damage is done. The latest scandal did significant damage to his reputation and many believe ownership will have no choice but to fire Meyer in 2022.
Even before the video came out, there was seemingly a divide between Meyer and the locker room. He brought the same habits and treatment of players that made him successful in college. With confidence in Meyer already fading, his handling of the video seemed to erase any hope for a reconciliation.
“He’s not coming back from this. There wasn’t much confidence in him in that locker room before this went down. Now? It’s over. Guys are laughing at him. He’s lost any respect he may have had. They think he quit on them.”NFL source with ties to Jacksonville Jaguars locker room on HC Urban Meyer, via CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora
Players don’t have an issue with the video itself, but the events that led up to it and how Meyer handled it after. Following the Jaguars’ Week 4 loss on Thursday Night Football, the first-year NFL coach stayed in Ohio and the team flew back to Jacksonville.
Issues between Urban Meyer, Jacksonville Jaguars
This goes against the very nature of a head coach’s job. NFL coaches almost immediately watch film after the game and spend the flight back making plans for the upcoming week. But Meyer, who said he wanted to spend time with his grandkids, went to the bar/restaurant he owned and seemingly partied.
Meyer made the situation worse on Monday. 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.
But the lack of trust and confidence in Meyer isn’t just felt by the players. According to La Canfora, there are reportedly fractured relations with the Jaguars’ assistant coaches who felt betrayed by his actions that have led to this situation.
When Jacksonville hired Meyer, he was allowed to assemble his coaching staff. Meyer hired longtime friend Chris Doyle. Doyle, who was let go by Iowa after multiple claims of his racism towards student-athletes, resigned a day later after Meyer faced immediate criticism for the hire.
Meyer and the Jaguars were also fined for practice violations. 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.
While ownership isn’t firing Meyer right now, the statement released this past week made it clear he’s on thin ice. Things might only get worse as the losses pile up and everyone in the building starts counting down the days until he is gone.