A coach under fire: Jaguars' Meyer pushes back after reports
From a controversial viral video, to dismal performances and now an apparent rift with players and coaches alike, Jacksonville's coach is doing himself no favors.
The relationship between the head coach and his staff seems to be getting worse. Where does it all end?
Urban Meyer threatens the leak
Embattled Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer seems to be fighting on all fronts at the moment. Not only are the Jaguars one of the worst teams in the league, but it would appear as though Meyer has also created a rift between himself, the players and fellow coaches. Following on from that there have been reports of heated arguments and insults being leveled at various individuals including WR Marvin Jones who Meyer reportedly had a screaming match with after calling his assistant coaches losers. Meyer has since denied all allegations while doubling down on his threat of unemployment, saying that any individual found to be leaking information outside the organization regarding what's going on inside the facility will be fired.
"What's the answer [when things are going badly]? Start leaking information or some nonsense?" Meyer said after the Jaguars' crippling 20-0 loss at Tennessee on Sunday. The loss marked the fourth shutout defeat in franchise history and the first since a Week 5 loss to Seattle in 2009. "No. No, that's nonsense. That's garbage. I've been very blessed. I've not really dealt with that. I've not dealt with, 'Well, did you hear what he said?' What? No. Let's improve on offense and get our quarterback in a position to be successful. That's our focus." he said. Meyer also went on to clarify where he stands regarding the leak. "What someone's brother said, or someone said someone said, that will occupy very little of my time. And if there is a source, that source is unemployed. I mean, within seconds, if there's some source that's doing that."
What happened between Meyer, Jones and the staff?
According to reports from both ESPN and the NFL Network, Jones had to be persuaded to return to the team facility after leaving in response to Meyer's published criticism of the wide receivers. It was also understood that Jones and Meyer had a heated conversation after the wide receiver did return. Meyer, however, flatly denied the notion of an argument, in fact the coach also went on to deny the allegations made in the NFL report about him calling his assistants "losers" along with raising doubts about their professional acumen during a staff meeting. The only thing Meyer did admit to, was that Jones did indeed ask him what was said about the receivers, however, he once again maintained that there was no aggression in the conversation.
"Calling someone a loser, that's inaccurate," Meyer said. "I have high expectations for our coaches. I'm very demanding of our coaches and expect guys to be held accountable for their positions, and the times when they're not, we address it. But I assure you there was not whatever report...that's nonsense. "[Regarding Jones] I think I said something like we have some injury issues and some lack of consistency. We talked about that, and he's great. We moved on. One thing about Marvin, and there's a lot of players, especially these professional veterans, there's a lot of pride. Some guys aren't used to this, and he's one of them. But he's fantastic and we have a fantastic relationship, and I started hearing that, and Marvin looked at me - he walked by yesterday when I saw something on TV, like a heated argument, and he goes, 'I guess we're not allowed to talk anymore, are we?' and started laughing about it. So there's nothing."
Where do the Jaguars go from here?
Seemingly indifferent about the growing animosity towards him, Meyer said he intends to speak with the team on Monday, however, he admitted that he had already spoken with owner Shad Khan on Saturday night and again following Sunday's loss for approximately 15 minutes. Meyer did not disclose what was said between the two, only reaffirming the idea that the owner had "been fantastic since the day I've been here, and we're going to do the best we can to win games. That's our job. Our focus is to finish the season strong and to make whatever adjustments we have to make to get this thing cooking."
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What's the 'sit rep' for the Jaguars?
On Sunday gone the Jaguars were abysmal to say the least. Managing only 184 yards, it was the third time this season that Jacksonville failed to surpass 200 yards. To make matters worse, running back James Robinson had a career-low 4 yards on six carries while QB Trevor Lawrence threw a career-high four interceptions. If that wasn't already bad enough, Shenault and receiver Laquon Treadwell collided because one of them ran the wrong route late in the fourth quarter which was essentially the icing on an awful cake.
In the end the Jaguars fell to their 15th consecutive road loss, ninth consecutive loss to an AFC South opponent, eighth in a row in Nashville and fifth in a row overall. It's worth mention that this is only the second time in Meyer's coaching career in where one of his teams was shut out. Yet, the under fire coach remained defiant. "I assured [Khan] that I still believe in my heart that we will [turn the franchise around],"
Meyer said. "It hasn't exactly materialized the way I expected it to have, the experience of winning games. I knew that this was somewhat of a build. I also really believe that we have plenty of good enough players to go win games. I still believe that. "That's why I get so disappointed sometimes with our coaching staff or myself, because I think we can do better than we're doing. Really disappointed."