Jacksonville Sports Day

Moeller: There Won’t be a Lingering Memory of Meyer Around Jacksonville

Teaching in  Catholic schools for 26 years, there are a lot of things that are unique from a public school.

One of the major differences involved the actual teachers. I noticed that every teacher can’t teach in a Catholic School. You need certain qualities and have to adapt with humility.

Same can be said for a pro football coach. Not every college coach can make the transition. It becomes more difficult when you have an accepted generational player. 

Such was the case for Urban Meyer. He was the famed outsider who never became the expected insider. His methods, mottos, and musings never meshed on and off the field with a 2-11 record.

Jags’ owner Shad Khan wanted to make a big splash with top pick Trevor Lawrence and Meyer, who brought a 187-32 career collegiate record to Jacksonville fans who desperately sought a winner again.

This was supposed to be the perfect marriage, and the first step toward a new solid foundation. Instead, everything began to slowly fissure. 

It was Jan. 14 when Meyer was hired and Dec. 16 when he was fired. There won’t be a lingering memory of him around Jacksonville. 

Meyer’s 13-game tenure dates back to the shortest tenure since Louisville’s Bobby Petrino, who wasn’t connected with his players after 13 games with Atlanta in 2007. Some of you might be old enough to remember Lou Holtz’s disastrous run with the Jets when he realized the offense he ran at North Carolina State wouldn’t work in the Big Apple. 

In the end, Meyer was too arrogant for his own good. He followed the same path as some of his predecessors, as he stayed the course despite having to see the writing on the wall.

The rumor mill was picking up speed over the past month about stories involving coaches and players. It became more and more evident something had to give.

But give Khan credit here. He didn’t give Meyer a customary second year to straighten things out. Khan knew Meyer raised to the level of a cancer, and he had to be treated quickly and appropriately. 

His quick hook made it obvious that this is about Lawrence, not a high-profile coach. Khan began to understand that he didn’t have a Tom Brady-Bill Belichick connection.  

He and his administration realize that they have a franchise-changing player in their midst. At least for now.

When Lawrence complained about James Robinson’s lack of involvement, you figured Meyer was in trouble. 

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who had a 1-4 stint with the Lions as head coach last year, takes over the reins when the Jags host 2-11 Houston Sunday.  The Jags are actually 3.5-point favorites, being in that category for the first time this season.

It will be interesting to see if Bevell deviates greatly offensively from the previous few games, mainly letting Robinson get a workload of carries. He had six of the overall eight carries in last week’s 20-0 loss to Tennessee in which Lawrence threw 40 times and had four interceptions. 

The Jags easily could respond here and look similar in the victories over Miami and Buffalo. It’s evident now that Meyer’s weight off their shoulders could propel them over the final four games. There is the potential for some revitalized football down the stretch.

Khan and his crew will look to an established NFL head coach to unite with Lawrence, who is the key to fix the second-lowest point total and third-lowest yardage mark in the league. 

Doug Pederson and Josh McDaniel have gained some early momentum, yet they have some asterisks. Pederson built a good reputation with his players In Philadelphia despite his fallout with Carson Wentz, and McDaniel has been the offensive genius in spite of his two-year fall as a head coach with Denver. 

Jim Caldwell also could be a good fit, and his 62-50 record with the Lions and Colts has been forgotten. Pete Carroll could be swayed from Seattle with his current team headed into a transition mode.

 Eric Bienemy was the hot commodity over the previous two years, but he didn’t get an offer. Bienemy has a pedigree working with Andy Reid and Pat Mahomes, but the Jags need a proven head coach.  

Come January, the Jags will be shopping again. This time around, they just need to find one major complementary piece to their major piece wearing number 16.

They also know that every teacher can’t always teach in every environment.

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