The Urban Meyer era in Jacksonville has been dysfunctional — and that’s putting it mildly.
In his first season with the Jaguars, Meyer has been a major source of drama. He hired Chris Doyle, whose tenure at Iowa ended amid allegations of racism and bullying, as the team’s director of sports performance. (Doyle resigned shortly after being hired because he “did not want to be a distraction.”) He brought in Tim Tebow to compete for a roster spot as a tight end despite the fact that he had never played the position. He was seen in a viral video dancing with a young woman, who was not his wife, at an Ohio bar. (He later apologized and called his actions “just stupid.”)
Oh, and Jacksonville is 2-10, tied for the second-worst record in the NFL with Houston. Not great!
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Now, the tension between Jaguars players and coaches and Meyer has “boiled over,” according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, who reported Saturday that Meyer consistently pushing the blame onto everyone else in the organization has “exacerbated frustration in the building with his hard-charging and sometimes condescending approach.”
One particular piece of Pelissero’s report stood out in its bizarreness:
During a staff meeting, Meyer delivered a biting message that he’s a winner and his assistant coaches are losers, according to several people informed of the contents of the meeting, challenging each coach individually to explain when they’ve ever won and forcing them to defend their resumes.
So, uh, what? If Meyer believes that he is surrounded by a bunch of losers, then why is he keeping those coaches on his staff? Shouldn’t you have gone through their resumes during the interview process? And why does he consider himself a winner when he is the head coach of one of the worst teams in the league? There are no good answers to those questions.
In addition to revealing the contents of that meeting, Pelissero also noted that the usage of running back James Robinson has created controversy. Robinson, who leads the Jaguars with 678 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, sat out a long stretch of Sunday’s loss against the Rams after fumbling on Jacksonville’s first drive. Robinson felt as though he had been benched following the fumble, but Meyer indicated that the decision was injury-related.
However, Pelissero reported that Meyer ordered the benching and had running backs coach Bernie Parmalee stop Robinson from re-entering the game. Robinson only returned after quarterback Trevor Lawrence reportedly asked Meyer about Robinson’s status.
“[The] bottom line is James is one of our best players, and he’s got to be on the field,” Lawrence said earlier this week. “And we addressed it, and I feel like we’re in a good spot. And the whole team is — we’re good. Whatever may have happened, I honestly don’t even know everything that went into it. I’m playing the game, and stuff happens on the sideline with coaching decisions.
“I don’t really get into that, but I know — and I voiced my opinion. James is one of our best players, and he’s got to be in the game. I think we’re all on the same page, so there’s no confusion there. We’re gonna move forward. I know James is a hell of a player, so I want him out there.”
Jaguars owner Shad Khan has been publicly supportive of Meyer in the past, but if Meyer continues to alienate his own players and coaches, it’s difficult to see how he can keep his job beyond this season.