Urban Meyer’s NFL head coaching stint is starting on a bad note.
Perhaps he missed college football, wherein the coach is like a god.
They are in total control of the team, and their word is infallible even to a fault.
He can get away with controversial statements or decisions as long as he can back it up with wins.
But he is in the big leagues now, and there will always be scrutiny from the media.
The pressure is real because of Shahid Khan’s anointing to save a franchise that won one game last season.
Sure, he is a three-time national champion with Florida and Ohio State.
49 players who finished their college careers at Ohio State made initial 53-man rosters around the NFL. The Cincinnati Bengals, Urban Meyer's Jacksonville Jaguars and the New Orleans Saints lead the way with four Buckeyes each: https://t.co/HXqZ8Tinjo pic.twitter.com/Xq6qsUtf0V
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 1, 2021
Yet, in those scenarios, he was able to get the players that he wants.
While free agency provides that same opportunity in the NFL, the hard salary cap serves as a buffer on building their roster.
Therefore, he will be coaching at a disadvantage for the first time in ages.
Can he still lead the Jacksonville Jaguars to a respectable record this season?
The answer depends on whether they’ve built the best team possible according to what the market offers.
Part of creating a competitive roster is choosing 53 men that comprise the active squad.
That decision often boils down to how a player performed during training camp and preseason.
But to admit that their vaccination status for COVID-19 was a significant consideration doesn’t paint a good picture.
Was there anything wrong with what Urban Meyer said Andrew? He said that vaccination status was “a factor” in decisions. When these rules were instituted did anybody in their right mind think vaccination status would not be considered at all? https://t.co/GwSNnQwhv8
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) September 1, 2021
This blunder shows that he isn’t aware of what’s happening around the league.
Earlier in the offseason, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith criticized Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane for statements akin to Meyer’s.
Beane also spent time with Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding his controversial qualification for choosing players that will make the roster.
Meyer’s Litany Of Wrongs
It’s not all head-scratching decisions from him during the preseason.
He deserves credit for drafting Trevor Lawrence and, yes, cutting Tim Tebow.
It must be tough for him to let a player that he’s fond of go.
But it was evident that Tebow isn’t an NFL tight end.
Aside from those developments, it’s been all downhill for Meyer.
He hired former Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle who left the program due to allegations of being a racist.
The #Jaguars released a statement after the NFLPA said it would investigate Urban Meyer’s comments about cut-down day and unvaccinated players: “No player was released because of their vaccination status.” pic.twitter.com/6JWyjoCLlP
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 1, 2021
Worst, Meyer defended his decision by proclaiming that Doyle’s hiring went through thorough vetting.
Then there’s the release of quarterback and fan favorite Gardner Minshew.
Sure, Lawrence’s football skills are unquestionable.
But he hasn’t played much to prove that he is NFL-ready.
That Jaguars offensive line is going to be a problem all season.
Lawrence might not thrive, given that he doesn’t have much time to throw the ball.
A veteran like Minshew can serve as a guide for Lawrence in reading what the defense is showing.
Unfortunately, that’s not possible anymore because Minshew is already with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Trade: #Eagles have acquired QB Gardner Minshew from Jacksonville in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in 2022.
The team also released QB Nick Mullens. pic.twitter.com/MLYrJfymxE
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 28, 2021
For now, Urban Meyer’s stint as Jaguars head coach doesn’t look promising.
As always, the perception will change once he leads the team to more victories.
Jacksonville is far from being a playoff team; make no mistake about it.
But putting up a good fight every week will turn Meyer from burden to blessing.