Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer is already being called into question about his abilities to coach in the NFL after one game, and with the USC Trojans’ sudden vacancy, speculation is swirling that Meyer might bail to return to college ball.
Well, at least for now, Meyer seems dedicated to seeing through his tenure in Jacksonville, for better or worse, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
USC just fired head coach Clay Helton a mere two games into its season, as the Trojans got soundly beaten 42-28 by the Stanford Cardinal this past weekend.
“No chance” seems as clear as can be, but Meyer has had multiple issues thus far. From the failed Tim Tebow experiment, to commenting publicly in the wrong way on the COVID-19 vaccination, to reportedly alienating his own players and coaching staff already, it’s been a rocky start to Meyer’s NFL transition.
That was before Week 1, mind you. The Houston Texans may have the worst roster in the entire league, with a collection of veteran castoffs, and many key players gotten rid of prior to the season. That didn’t stop Houston from crushing the Jags 37-21 this past Sunday.
It was a golden opportunity for Meyer to put fans and the team at ease with a statement victory against a seemingly inferior opponent, as Jacksonville was favored on the road. Instead, it turned into a waking nightmare that seems to reflect the sheer chaos of Meyer’s tenure to date.
Urban Meyer could be the next Bobby Petrino, but worse
The dog fighting scandal that sent Michael Vick to prison threw Bobby Petrino’s 2007 Atlanta Falcons coaching stint into a complete tailspin. Without Vick, Petrino went 3-10 and abruptly resigned in the midst of his first season in the NFL. Interestingly enough, his only other pro experience was a three-year stint in Jacksonville from 1999 through 2001.
Meyer inherited the absolute best situation you could ask for in terms of rebuilding a franchise. Flush with the most salary cap space in the NFL entering last offseason, and the rights to no-brainer No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, he could construct the roster to his liking and land one of the NFL Draft’s all-time can’t-miss quarterback prospects.
And at least in Week 1, the results weren’t pretty. To blow this gig with all those assets at his disposal would be the ultimate embarrassment for Meyer.
It’s not time to hit the full-blown panic button just yet. Nevertheless, Meyer couldn’t have gotten off to a much worse start in the NFL than he has to date. He seems in over his head in trying to manage the day-to-day operations of a pro football organization, much less be a great leader of men.
Accustomed to having the obvious talent edge any time his teams take the field, Meyer is finding that the parity of the NFL in that sense to be a difficult adjustment. He needs to adapt quickly, or risk the Jags somehow being in a worse spot than they were after last year’s abysmal 1-15 record.
Lawrence is going to give Jacksonville a chance. He has weapons. It just feels like the Jags largely wasted all that cap space they had and didn’t do enough to upgrade the roster. The question is, will Meyer be patient enough to last even a full season with so much losing expected? That was a big concern coming in, and thus far, he’s done little to allay that red flag.
There are plenty of worthy candidates for USC to explore. Meyer shouldn’t be one of them right now.