Urban Meyer was one of the great college football coaches in history, but his NFL tenure will be remembered as an unmitigated disaster both on and off the field as the Jaguars have fired Meyer just 13 games into his first season with the club at 2-11 and franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence seemingly regressing by the week. SportsLine offers early NFL odds on the next Jaguars head coach, and it will NOT be someone from the college ranks like Meyer.
Meyer is the first head coach to not finish his first season after starting in Week 1 since Bobby Petrino in 2007, who left the Atlanta Falcons to take the Arkansas head coach position.
That Meyer wasn't going to be back next year seemed a done deal in the wake of the latest embarrassment: Former kicker Josh Lambo claiming that Meyer kicked him in the leg in anger during a preseason game. Clearly, that was the last straw for owner Shad Khan, who reportedly still owes Meyer in the ballpark of $45 million (the team may try to fire Meyer with "cause"; let the lawsuit begin). Darrell Bevell will serve as interim head coach but has little shot at the full-time job with the Jags hosting Houston on Sunday -- that spread actually rose slightly with the Meyer news, which tells you how unpopular he was in the locker room.
"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 early Thursday. "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."
Most likely, the new hire will be an offensive-minded guy with a history of grooming quarterbacks because Lawrence is a generational talent – he just hasn't looked like one under the current coaching staff. The No. 1 overall pick comes off a four-interception game last Sunday in a 20-0 loss to the Titans, the first time a Lawrence team had ever been shut out dating to his high school days. He also had never thrown four picks. Lawrence's 14 interceptions are tied for the NFL lead and his rating of 68.9 is better than only that of Zach Wilson, who was the No. 2 overall pick of the Jets.
After the Meyer debacle, Khan will want someone with NFL experience and perhaps head coaching experience. Thus, former Eagles Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson is atop this list. The Jaguars obviously can begin interviewing coaches not on teams right now, so that could give Pederson an edge. Jacksonville can't start interviewing assistants on NFL teams until Dec. 28, which is actually earlier than in previous years thanks to a new league rule.
This will be a plum job because of Lawrence and some other good young pieces in place, more than $70 million cap flexibility next year and a Top 5 pick in the 2022 draft.
In five seasons with the Eagles, Pederson won more regular-season games (42) and division titles (two) than Khan (41, one) has since taking ownership in 2012. Pederson, as a former NFL QB, also knows how to work with the position and cater to a QB's strengths.
The head coaching tenure of Josh McDaniels with the Denver Broncos didn't go so well, but he has rebuilt his reputation in New England with how well QB Mac Jones has played this season – Jones is going to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Jim Caldwell had successful stints with the Colts and Lions and is widely respected around the league; Detroit went 9-7 under Caldwell in 2017 and fired him and has only gone backward since. That Caldwell is going to be 67 in January may work against him.
If prior head coaching experience doesn't matter, Khan could go the offensive coordinator route with the Cowboys' Kellen Moore, Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy, Bills' Brian Daboll, Packers' Nathaniel Hackett or Bucs' Byron Leftwich. The latter has ties to the Jaguars as he was a seventh-round pick by the team in 2003 and played in Jacksonville through 2006.
When the Jaguars hired Meyer last January, they chose him over Bieniemy, current Jets coach Robert Saleh, former Bucs/Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris (now the Rams' DC) and current Falcons coach Arthur Smith.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Who will be the Jaguars' next full-time head coach?
- Doug Pederson +300
- Byron Leftwich +400
- Josh McDaniels +500
- Kellen Moore +500
- Eric Bieniemy +500
- Brian Daboll +700
- Jim Caldwell +1000
- Nathaniel Hackett +1200
- Raheem Morris +1300
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