Former Jaguars' coach Urban Meyer apologizes to fans
After his dismissal earlier in the week, the former head coach spoke on a variety of issues like the benching of, James Robinson, Trevor Lawrence's future and the hopes he had for the team.
The former Jaguars coach spoke for the first time since his firing earlier in the week.
Urban Meyer apologizes to Jacksonville
It took less than a single season for things to unravel between Urban Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, having been dismissed from his post early in the week, Meyer spoke for the first time on his tenure and how he's doing now. Speaking with ESPN's Ian Rapoport via NFL.com, Meyer explained how he was "devastated" by the way things ended. "I just apologize to Jacksonville," Meyer said. "I love Jacksonville. It's one of the reasons I took the job. I still think Shad's a great owner. It's heart-breaking. I just had a dream of it becoming a destination place with a new facility he agreed to build and some day to walk into that stadium where it's standing room only. Because I know how bad the people of Jacksonville want it. So, I'm just heartbroken that we weren't able to do that. I still believe it's going to be done. It's too good of a place."
Meyer's misuse of James Robinson was not OK
It was reported by CBS on Saturday that the Jaguars fired Meyer for cause. The cause apparently being a perceived mishandling of resources along with a questionable approach to interpersonal interactions and in general doubts about the nature of his character. Firstly there was the benching of star running back James Robinson, which was allegedly due to a fumble in week 14. "It was almost like there became a moral obligation to fire him after the way he handled Robinson's benching and with the way he treated people," a source said in CBS' report. "It was the right thing to do. Nothing was changing. He wasn't getting any better. It kept getting worse."
Speaking directly to the Robinson situation, Meyer said "When you see someone lose the ball or even see them be loose with the ball, get them out of the game, get their mind right, and then get them back in. When he fumbled, I said, 'Take him out.' We took him out and then we had a lack of communication about when to put him back in." Interestingly Meyer went on to say that he and Robinson exchanged texts following his firing and described their relationship as "great."
Viral videos and Kicks?
Whether it was his coaching ability or his character, Urban Meyer certainly didn't do himself any favors. Another incident which would have been a black mark against him was the scenario that played out following the Jaguars' loss to the Bengals. Meyer at the time chose not to return with team, but rather to stay in Ohio. A video later surfaced on social media and went viral in which Meyer could be seen at a bar with a young woman dancing close to his lap. Owner Shad Khan made a statement immediately following the incident, calling Meyer's antics "inexcusable."
There was also the case of a puzzling accusation made by former kicker Josh Lambo who disclosed that Meyer kicked him during preseason. Meyer for his part stated that the altercation with Lambo was not accurately portrayed. "It was like, 'Wait a minute, where is this coming from?' " Meyer said. "I've certainly made a few mistakes but those weren't right."
The problem with Trevor Lawrence
Perhaps of all of Meyer's 'sins' the most significant was the lack of progress shown by No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence. On the season so far Lawrence has completed just 58.2% of his passes with 14 interceptions and nine touchdowns. That being said, Meyer remains adamant that Lawrence will succeed in the NFL. "He's going to be great," Meyer said. "He's 22 years old, thrust into a place that lost 15 straight games. He had some devastating injuries to his offensive skill guys – (DJ) Chark went down along with (Travis) Etienne, then (Jamal) Agnew, and then our TE Dan Arnold. Those are our fast guys. And we had enough (talent), I'm not blaming that, but we had to be more creative. I just think we could've done better. But there is zero doubt Trevor is going to be a great NFL quarterback."
Meyer's failed aspirations and uncertain future
The former Jaguars coach also spoke of his frustration at not being able to live up to the hopes of owner Shad Khan. "I love our owner Shad, Shad's a great man," Meyer said. "Two reasons I took the job: One for him, the second reason was I loved Jacksonville and wanted to help turn around an organization that had been struggling." Regarding what's next for Meyer, he simply stated "to be determined." According to Rapoport, the now out of work coach has yet to hear from anyone in the coaching world about a possible employment opportunity.