JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired Urban Meyer 13 games into his first season with the NFL.
In April 2021, Jaguars owner Shad Khan proudly sat atop the dais at TIAA Bank Field. It was Trevor Lawrence’s introductory press conference; the long-sought after savior of Jacksonville had arrived in the form of a generational, 21-year old quarterback. And opposite Khan and Lawrence at the dais sat Khan’s other golden goose: first-year head coach Urban Meyer.
Asked that day what was the difference between hiring Meyer as opposed to his three previous, failed head coaching hires in his ten years as team owner, Khan smiled and replied: “this time, I got it right.”
Less than a year later, it appears Khan did not get it right.
Meyer is out in Jacksonville after one season, finishing with a record of 2-11. Jaguars owner Shad Khan has confirmed that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as interim head coach.
"After deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban’s tenure with our team, I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone," Khan said in a statement released late Wednesday night. "I informed Urban of the change this evening. As I stated in October, regaining our trust and respect was essential. Regrettably, it did not happen."
Trent Baalke will continue to serve as general manager. Khan said he will have no further comment until after the conclusion of the NFL season.
Perhaps more damning: Meyer leaves with a laundry list of accusations of dysfunctional leadership within the Jaguars organization. The NFL Network’s report on December 11 was the first, tangible ammunition against the three-time, national championship-winning head coach. NFLN’s Tom Pelissero reported, among other things: Meyer had had a heated confrontation with captain Marvin Jones, prompting the mild-mannered Jones to storm out of practice; it was Meyer who ordered the benching of 1,000-yard rusher James Robinson after the second fumble of his career; in a staff meeting, Meyer called assistant coaches “losers” and challenged them to defend their resumes.
Then, the Tampa Bay Times released a report that of former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo saying that Meyer kicked him during a preseason practice. First Coast News was the first and only TV station to interview Lambo.
Speaking of resumes, Meyer will now carry a 2-11 mark on his NFL resume. In college, he holds a 187-32 (.854) record, having lost as many games with the Jaguars as he lost at Utah (2003-2004) and Ohio State (2012-2018) combined.
Khan was asked about Meyer’s job security at a December meeting with reporters. “What’s different about this [regime] is you have losses and you have drama. In the past, it was like, you were, quote, ‘the lowly Jaguars,’ and everyone left you alone,” the 71-year old owner, who recently celebrated his 10th anniversary with the club, said. “The scrutiny we have is really something different.”
Khan also noted that he had an open-line of communication with players and assistant coaches, that he was regularly in team meetings, and “evaluating everything” when it came to Meyer.
It appears the scrutiny ultimately won out, and Khan did not get the right coach after all.