The Jaguars’ much-hyped hiring of coach Urban Meyer is officially a total disaster. Team owner Shad Khan fired Meyer on Dec. 16. Jacksonville was 2-11 with the three-time college football national champion at the helm. Meyer was brought in after a 1-15 campaign in 2020.
Khan finally reached a boiling point with Meyer after questionable coaching and reports of dissension throughout the organization, but the steam toward a one-and-done breakup had been building for a long time. There were questionable decisions regarding coaching (Chris Doyle?) and personnel (Tim Tebow?) before the season. During the season, the Jaguars’ rocky on-field performance dragging down No. 1 overall quarterback Trevor Lawence. There also was Meyer’s post Week 4 off-field indiscretion, which added to the volatile mix.
Khan made a splashy, sizable investment in Meyer, but after one last negative story, he decided not to give him an extended chance to turn things around. A quick firing during the 2021 NFL season was based on Meyer losing the respect of players as well as all those games.
Darrell Bevell was named interim coach in place of Meyer, but he’s not part of SN’s list of no-brainer targets for Jacksonville’s next full-time coach. All of them are built to produce real results with Lawrence:
Byron Leftwich, offensive coordinator, Buccaneers
Leftwich, 41, has done tremendous work as Bruce Arians’ protege getting in sync with the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. The former Jaguars starting quarterback perhaps should have already returned to his first NFL home, moving three hours up the road from Tampa.
Leftwich would be an awesome influence on Lawrence with all of his experience. It doesn’t hurt he can now boast about a Super Bowl ring.
Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator, Cowboys
Moore is only 33, but does it really matter with the way he’s turned Dak Prescott and Dallas into a versatile and explosive scoring juggernaut? He’s proved to be mature beyond his years, enough so that offensive-minded Mike McCarthy had to make the necessary smart move and keep him as the play-caller. The former Boise State star quarterback would have fun designing ways to maximize Lawrence’s dazzling skill set of big arm and plus athleticism.
Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator, Chiefs
If the guy helping Brady or Prescott doesn’t sound appealing, how about the guy working with Patrick Mahomes, who’s long overdue for a head-coaching gig somewhere at age 52? Again, everything needs to be about trying to develop Lawrence into an elite quarterback as quickly as possible. Remember that Mahomes was MVP in Year 2, his first season as a full-time starter.
Joe Brady, former offensive coordinator, Panthers
Or why not the guy who worked so brilliantly with Lawrence rival Joe Burrow in college? Again, Khan and the Jaguars shouldn’t care one bit that Brady turned only 32 in September. He helped win a national title in college and has worked well under Sean Payton before the odd dismissal from the Matt Rhule’s staff in Carolina.
Shane Waldron, offensive coordinator, Seahawks
Man, with so many worthy replacements, the Jaguars coudn’t justify retaining Meyer for Year 2. Waldron, 42, has gone from Sean McVay’s staff with the Rams right into trying to help Russell Wilson into a higher gear, before he and the QB got reined in by more conservative Pete Carroll. Hey, a young Wilson was strong-armed and mobile, too! If the Seahawks can go away from the Bevell-Brian Schottenheimer stodginess, the Jaguars can, too.
Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator, Bills
You’ve got to be kidding me. The guy who has turned Josh Allen into an elite all-around quarterback is also available? The 46-year-old deserves his shot given the wonders he’s worked in Buffalo. He also has invaluable experience with both Nick Saban and Bill Belichick.
Scott Turner, offensive coordinator, Washington
There seems to be a theme here, doesn’t it? Turner, 39, has made Washington’s offense spectacular even with Taylor Heinicke at the helm. He’s well-pedigreed as Norv’s son and Ron Rivera’s protege.
Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator, Patriots
The 45-year-old nearly got a second chance to be a head coach in the AFC South when the Colts were ready to hire him in 2018, only to go with Frank Reich in the end instead. McDaniels’ time with the Broncos ended more than a decade ago in 2010 and he’s matured as a play-caller and leader under Belichick since then. He gives the Jaguars a copycat reason given what he’s done with the top rookie QB of 2021, Mac Jones.
Wow, it sounds like any of these younger offensive minds would be an upgrade over Meyer, giving Khan a lot of pros to go with one of them after a failed college try.