His team is terrible. It was expected to be, of course, but Meyer is clearly frustrated at his ineptitude as a pro coach, as is his team.
From reportedly getting in a screaming match with a player in the locker room to his quarterback publicly calling him out, Meyer’s rookie season as an NFL head coach has been a disaster.
He’s been so bad that one former NFL scout, John Middlekauff, believes he’s not meant to coach in the NFL. He went as far as to call Meyer a fraud.
Former scout says Urban Meyer doesn’t have the advantages he’s used to in the NFL
Football is the same game in college as it is in the NFL, minus a handful of rule differences. Despite the same concepts, the two levels couldn’t be any more different, though.
In college, a handful of schools are considered “blue bloods.” They have prestigious history, the best coaches, and the best facilities. Ohio State and Florida, where Meyer built his reputation as an elite, championship-winning head coach, have a built-in advantage on the recruiting trail, which naturally plays out on the football field on Saturdays.
Those schools also have the best boosters, which helps them with what Middlekauff alleges is the “brown bag” method of recruiting. That’s not really an issue any more given the NIL rules, but Middlekauff, also a former college football operations assistant, basically alleged that Meyer had some extra juice on the recruiting trail that helped him and his big-time programs bring in the top recruits. He has no such advantage in the NFL, which could be leading to his struggles.
“On Sundays, everyone you see on the field, the IRS knows about their paycheck. Especially at the highest level [in college], the IRS does not know about all the payments that are going to the players. There are these things we call brown bags. I’m not anti-cheating. I consider that capitalism. I laugh at the NCAA; I think it’s a joke, so I don’t blame any coaches for pushing the envelope,” Middlekauff explained on his 3-And-Out Podcast. “Nobody pushes the envelope better than Urban Meyer, and he loaded and brown-bagged his teams at Florida and Ohio State, as he should, and he kicked everyone’s a**.”
“The deck was always stacked on his side,” Middlekauff said, “And he utilized his big program to his benefit, rightfully so.”
The NFL is a league of parity, and Meyer is struggling with the even playing field
High-level college coaches become motivational speakers more than anything else. They’re the de facto mayor of their college towns, and they use the power of their name and stature in the college football ranks to draw in the best recruits. The best college coaches are the best recruiters, plain and simple. The smart ones then hire bright Xs-and-Os coordinators to help them manage things on game day.
That’s how it’s done in college football, but the NFL is an entirely different beast.
Not only does the head coach have to be a strategist (see: Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, and, on the defensive side of the ball, Vic Fangio), but they also have to “bring it” each and every week. There’s no nonconference ramp-up period against five or six “pancake” teams in the NFL. Every week matters. Your name and what you’ve accomplished at a different level doesn’t, as Meyer is finding out.
“Other teams, they drive big cars and live in big homes too. They have $10-$12 million coaches as well, so the parity in the NFL is relatively equal. Urban Meyer’s best skill by a mile was recruiting because he always had advantages at those programs. There is no brown bag in the NFL; they’re called direct deposits. You pay taxes on those, and you have a salary cap, and every team has the ability to sign players under that salary cap,” Middlekauff explained.
He brought up Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the fact that he came from a big-time college, Clemson, and played for a big-time college coach in Dabo Swinney. What reason does Lawrence have to be impressed by Meyer and his two wins as a head coach in the NFL?
“When Meyer says, ‘I’ve won a national championship. I’m a winner,’ Trevor Lawrence goes, ‘So have I,'” Middlekauff said.
What is Meyer actually bringing to the table for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
One has to wonder just how much of a grace period Meyer is going to get with the Jaguars. Sure, he’s a big name, but as has been pointed out, that doesn’t mean anything in the NFL.
What else does he do for the Jaguars besides … well … show up?
Outside of the fact that he’s a household name and has picked up two wins, he hasn’t done anything to make the Jaguars better. A good case can be made that he’s actually hurt Jacksonville more than he’s helped. Meyer has acted about as professionally as a Pop Warner coach, from the failed PR stunt known as Tim Tebow‘s time with the Jags to his own off-field distraction. He also reportedly recently called his assistant coaches losers and got into a “heated exchange” with wideout Marvin Jones Jr. at practice.
Frankly, he’s been an embarrassment.
“He has no business in the NFL besides him just being a famous guy. He is completely over his head. He doesn’t call the offense. He obviously knows nothing about defense. His greatest attribute, recruiting, is useless in the NFL,” Middlekauff said. “He’s a CEO leader, but no one even likes him. I think Urban Meyer is in the deep end, and he doesn’t know how to swim. If you put him back in college, he would win because he can use his greatest advantage. His greatest advantage in the NFL doesn’t exist. He has no advantages.”
Middlekauff even took it a step further in his criticism of Meyer.
“You’re seeing a guy that’s just a fraud. He’s honestly a great salesman who I don’t think can coach his way out of a wet paper bag right now,” he said. “Urban Meyer tried to prove himself because his ego is massive, and he’s gotten hit directly in the mouth and [has] proven that [he doesn’t] belong on Sundays. Go back to Saturdays.”
Meyer’s inability to coach at the NFL level has become apparent to everyone watching. How much longer of a leash will Jaguars owner Shad Kahn give the legendary college football coach?
That’s the big question surrounding Jacksonville right now, and that tells you all you need to know about how things are going for Meyer in year one.