Monday, December 27, 2021

Potential candidates to replace Urban Meyer with Jaguars


Mike Jones

December 16, 2021

When the Jacksonville Jaguars lured him from the broadcast booth to the NFL last offseason, Urban Meyer stepped into a highly attractive job. 

It came with the first overall pick of the draft (Trevor Lawrence), a bevy of other high picks, roughly $80 million in cap space to invest in free agency and an owner willing to provide the support and resources it would take to transform the team into a championship contender.

However, through a series of missteps on and off the field, Meyer failed miserably, and Wednesday night got the axe with Jacksonville owning a 2-11 record and Meyer embroiled in controversy. 

Now, Jaguars owner Shad Khan will try to make amends for a bad hire and attempt to once again get the franchise back on track. Working in his favor are the prospects of working with Lawrence and plenty of cap room to help rebuild.

Last winter, Khan hired Meyer over Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, then-San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh (now the Jets’ head coach), then-Tennessee offensive coordinator Arthur Smith (now the Falcons’ head coach) and now-Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. 

It’s believed Bieniemy and Morris could again receive consideration. However, other teams with head-coaching openings likely will pursue both men. League insiders say there are several other candidates who seemingly would be good fits in Jacksonville.

Khan has many decisions to make. Does he pursue someone with extensive head-coaching experience or a newcomer? The Jaguars need a coach with strong leadership skills and credibility, particularly after Meyer destroyed the trust of his players and assistants and cultivated a toxic culture that extended beyond the locker room and coaches' rooms. 

Khan also must determine the fate of general manager Trent Baalke. Three people with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that he helped fuel the toxic environment while berating and clashing often with players. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject. 

Some league insiders believe coaching candidates may have reservations about joining forces with Baalke, who left his previous GM stint (San Francisco) on bad terms. If that's the case, Khan could wind up making a clean sweep of the leadership positions and opt for a coach with a strong personnel track record, or one who would bring with him a talent evaluator with whom he already shares a good working relationship. 

Here’s a rundown of some of the men expected to draw interest for the job

Pep Hamilton 

The Houston Texans’ offensive coordinator has a strong track record with young quarterbacks, including Andrew Luck and Justin Herbert. He has 24 years of experience on the college and pro levels, working primarily as a quarterbacks coach. His tutelage would benefit Lawrence. Hamilton also served as head coach of the D.C. Defenders of the XFL.

Popular Posts