The Jaguars’ much-hyped hiring of coach Urban Meyer is on the brink of total disaster. Jacksonville is 0-4 to open the 2021 NFL season and has extended its overall losing streak to 19 consecutive defeats with the three-time college football national champion at the helm.
Beyond the questionable decisions regarding coaching (Chris Doyle?) and personnel (Tim Tebow?) before the season, the Jaguars’ on-field performance has been rocky, dragging down the passing and leadership promise of No. 1 overall quarterback Trevor Lawence. Now there’s Meyer’s post Week 4 off-field indiscretion that has added another distraction to the volatile mix.
Owner Shad Khan made a sizable splashy investment in Meyer, so in the short term, he likely will give him an extended chance to turn things around. But don’t rule out a quick firing ahead of the 2022 NFL season based on losing respect from the players along with losing games.
Should the Jaguars fire Meyer in season, their best bet would be play out the string with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell as interim coach, a position he also held for the Lions last season when they fired Matt Patricia.
When the misery is done in 2021, regardless, there should be thought to replacing Meyer in a one-and-done scenario. Here are the 7 no-brainer targets for Jacksonville’s next coach, all built to produce real results with Lawrence:
Jaguars’ 7 best potential replacements for Urban Meyer
Byron Leftwich, offensive coordinator, Buccaneers
Leftwich, 41, has done tremendous work as Bruce Arians’ protege getting in sync with the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. The former Jaguars starting quarterback perhaps should have already returned to his first NFL home, moving three hours up the road from Tampa.
Leftwich would be an awesome influence on Lawrence with all of his experience. It doesn’t hurt he can now boast about a Super Bowl ring.
Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator, Cowboys
Moore is only 33, but does it really matter with the way he’s turned Dak Prescott and Dallas into a versatile and explosive scoring juggernaut? He’s proved to be mature beyond his years, enough so that offensive-minded Mike McCarthy had to make the necessary smart move and keep him as the play-caller. The former Boise State star quarterback would have fun designing ways to maximize Lawrence’s dazzling skill set of big arm and plus athleticism.
Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator, Chiefs
If the guy helping Brady or Prescott doesn’t sound appealing, how about the guy working with Patrick Mahomes, who’s long overdue for a head-coaching gig somewhere at age 52? Again, everything needs to be about trying to develop Lawrence into an elite quarterback as quickly as possible. Remember that Mahomes was MVP in Year 2, his first season as a full-time starter.
Joe Brady, offensive coordinator, Panthers
Or why not the guy who worked so brilliantly with Joe Burrow in college and is helping to turn around the career of Sam Darnold? Again, Khan and the Jaguars shouldn’t care one bit that Brady turned only 32 in September. He helped win a national title in college and has worked well under Sean Payton and Matt Rhule.
Shane Waldron, offensive coordinator, Seahawks
Man, with so many worthy replacements, the Jaguars might find it difficult justifying retaining Meyer for Year 2. Waldron, 42, has gone from Sean McVay’s staff with the Rams right into kicking Russell Wilson into a higher gear. Hey, a young Wilson was strong-armed and mobile, too! If the Seahawks can go away from the Bevell-Brian Schottenheimer stodginess, the Jaguars can, too.
Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator, Bills
You’ve got to be kidding me. The guy who has turned Josh Allen into an elite all-around quarterback is also available? The 46-year-old deserves his shot given the wonders he’s worked in Buffalo.
Scott Turner, offensive coordinator, Washington
There seems to be a theme here, doesn’t it? Turner, 39, has made Washington’s offense spectacular even with Taylor Heinicke at the helm. He’s well-pedigreed as Norv’s son and Ron Rivera’s protege.
Wow, it sounds like any of these younger offensive minds would be an upgrade over Meyer, giving a lot of pros for Khan to think about vs. what’s looking like a failed college try.
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