Pressure on Jaguars HC Urban Meyer is growing
After a string of sub par performances, questionable coaching decisions, a viral video controversy and strained relationships, the Jaguars' head coach is doing himself no favors.
There is a growing rift between Jacksonville's coach and his players, but where does it all end?
Jaguars' Urban Meyer's under the microscope
It was another problematic week for the Jaguars. Having lost once again in sensational style, the tactics of head coach Urban Meyer have once again been brought into question. That is of course before mentioning the continued absence of star running back James Robinson who Meyer seemingly refuses to trust. Incidentally, the scenario even lead to quarterback Trevor Lawrence begging on Robinson's behalf.
As things stand, Meyer's credibility with players and staff alike is flagging to say the least. Having seen one position coach leave for a college post last week and several others contemplating their next move, as changes to the Jaguars' staff can be expected whether Meyer remains head coach or not, there is a growing belief that general manager Trent Baalke is leaning towards Jaguars assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Charlie Strong as opposed to looking outside the franchise for a replacement. Should Meyer be dismissed, it will be after just one season, however, it is understood that many believe it best to cut ties before things get worse.
Why Charlie Strong?
According to reports, Strong is well liked by both the players and other coaches. Strong has over 30 years of college coaching experience, including head coaching stints at Louisville, Texas and South Florida that saw him amass a great deal of success. In turn he has made a seamless transition to the professional game, impressing many in the front office with his approach in what increasingly became a season to forget. Should owner Shad Khan seek to replace Meyer, it would be hard to argue against Strong as the potential replacement.
How have the Jaguars been doing?
In totality there are few causes for celebration where Jacksonville's progress is concerned since Meyer has been in charge. Currently sitting on a record of 2-10 they are without doubt one of the worst teams in the league and most definitely in the hat of contention for the first overall draft pick once again. If that wasn't enough, they are yet to score more than 21 points in a game and have demonstrated essentially no passing game in any of their first 7 games. There are also the questions surrounding the development of QB Trevor Lawrence who has brief signs of potential, however, only after the games were long lost. Indeed, losing by a wide margin has become a trend for the Jaguars.
What has Urban Meyer done?
It was just a short time ago when Meyer courted immense controversy after his decision not to return with the team after a loss to Cincinnati going into the bye week. It can in fact be said that Meyer's relationships with players was never his winning characteristic, needless to say after his actions in Ohio things got worse. There is also the situation surrounding James Robinson's usage. Until Meyer's decision to bench him for fumbling, the run game was perhaps one of the few bright spots in the Jaguars' games.
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According to sources, Meyer left no doubt when he spoke to his coaching staff via headset, that he wanted Robinson removed from the game after a fumble on his second carry against the Rams. Robinson would only return to the field late in the second quarter and once again in the fourth when the game was already clearly lost. It is understood that Lawrence asked Meyer at one point, why the team's best skill player was still not in the game. Subsequent to the game, Meyer seemed to deflect responsibility in front of the press, saying that running backs coach Bernie Parmalee was responsible for rotation, which in turn shocked coaches and players. It has in fact been reported that Parmalee has been increasingly pushed out while offensive quality control coach Kyle Caskey, a former running backs coach in Detroit has progressively assumed many of his duties.
QB Trevor Lawrence makes case for James Robinson
Trevor Lawrence has never been a player to go against the grain, which in turn gives perspective on how serious the situation has become. Lawrence recently spoke on the Robinson issue publicly, imploring Meyer to realize that Robinson "needs to be on the field." As is commonly accepted in American football, protecting the quarterback is vital and a solid running game is essential to that. Speaking on Robinson himself, Lawrence was sincere, "I know James is a hell of a player, so I want him out there," he said.
In the coming weeks the Jaguars will face both the Titans and the Texans who are basically in contention with them for the worst spots in the league. Should they lose it will be their second five game losing streak for the season.