The Urban Meyer scandal has receded from the front pages in recent days thanks to the even-worse Jon Gruden scandal. However, now that Gruden is gone, the attention of the next coach fired watchers turns squarely back to Meyer. While much of the analysis of Meyer’s situation focuses on whether he can win back the respect of the Jacksonville Jaguars locker room, a recent report suggests that would be impossible since he never had that respect in the first place.
The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t respond well in the game immediately following the Urban Meyer scandal
When an NFL team (or a team in any sport, really) faces major adversity like the Jacksonville Jaguars did last week, it can either galvanize the squad or crush their spirit. The early returns last Sunday looked like the former might be the case. However, by the end of the game, the scoreboard suggested the latter.
The game started horribly for Urban Meyer’s squad. The newest the Jag, tight end Dan Arnold (acquired in a trade with the Carolina Panthers after Week 3) coughed up the ball just seconds into the game, and the Tennessee Titans returned it for a touchdown.
Trevor Lawrence and the crew responded strongly, though. The No. 1 overall pick drove the offense down the field and scored a touchdown (although K Randy Bullock missed the point after).
When Derrick Henry scored to put the Titans up 14-6, Lawrence once again directed a drive to make it 14-13. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, that was as close as they would get.
Tennessee scored 23 of the next 29 points, including 17 unanswered, to sink both Jacksonville’s hope and their record to 0-5.
Sources apparently say the former college coach never had the respect of the locker room
In the immediate aftermath of the Urban Meyer scandal, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan released a statement on Jaguars.com expressing confidence in his head coach while stating that he needs to “regain our trust and respect.”
Since the scandal broke, numerous reports stated that the Jaguars players were openly mocking and laughing at the embattled head coach. These reports make it hard to fathom that Meyer would ultimately be able to “regain” his players’ respect.
Now, a new report by Jeff Howe from The Athletic suggests that it may be impossible for Meyer to “regain” anything in his locker room because he never had much respect to begin with:
Sources close to several players suggested the coach never had the locker room. Meyer’s hard coaching style hasn’t rung with veterans the way it would with college athletes.The Athletic’s Jeff Howe on the Urban Meyer scandal
This isn’t uncommon for college coaches who come to the NFL. People like Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino, Steve Spurrier, and Lou Holtz are just a few of the head coaches whose college ways didn’t translate to the NFL.
In addition to not adapting to the pros, the other thing all these coaches have in common is they didn’t last long in the NFL. Saban and Spurrier only made it two seasons, while Petrino and Holtz didn’t even get that far.
It doesn’t get any easier for Meyer and the Jaguars as they prepare for their next game in London
Week 6 doesn’t give Urban Meyer and the Jaguars any respite. The team had to hop a plane and cross the Atlantic Ocean just a few days after losing to the Titans. The Jaguars take on the Miami Dolphins in London, England, this weekend.
The Dolphins aren’t lighting the football world on fire either, putting up just a 1-4 record in 2021 so far themselves. However, reports indicate that the team could get starting QB Tua Tagovailoa back, which might help the cause.
As for the Jaguars, the franchise does have the most experience in the NFL playing abroad. The team played in London for seven consecutive years from 2013-2019, only pausing last season due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.
Even with that institutional experience, Meyer and most of the current roster weren’t part of that streak.
Success in the NFL’s London games often comes down to how the coaches navigate the week leading up to it. If “sources” are correct and Meyer either no longer or never had his players’ respect, it could make for a long weekend in the UK for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Meyer will finally get a break next week as the Jaguars mercifully get a bye. That is if he flies back with the team.