It has been an entertaining start to Urban Meyer’s head coaching tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He has never been a head coach at the NFL level, and is operating with the swiftness and confidence of a veteran ball coach at a spring practice on campus.
Great to be back on the field! pic.twitter.com/VcigzukVHb
— Urban Meyer (@CoachUrbanMeyer) May 15, 2021
Time will tell whether Meyer’s approach to his roster and preparation will lead to Jim Harbaugh-like success, or a Nick Saban-like flameout in the professional ranks.
But this much is clear; he’s going to do it his way.
Despite some bold statements, there have been a few head scratching actions coming out of Northern Florida that make you wonder whether Meyer will succeed with the Jaguars.
Hindsight is 20/20, but since we don’t have that perspective just yet, let’s take a closer look at three mistakes Meyer appears to have made in Jacksonville so far.
The Plan For Travis Etienne
Drafting Travis Etienne in the first place was a bit confusing even when it happened.
With virtually no supporting cast to speak of last year, incumbent starting running back James Robinson gave Jacksonville everything they could have hoped for, and much more.
Robinson tallied over 1,000 yards on the ground last season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
Perhaps just as importantly, he’s only due to make just over $780,000 in 2021, giving the Jaguars one of the best values at any position in the NFL.
Despite these inherent advantages, the team felt compelled to draft Etienne in the first round.
It would be one thing if Meyer wanted to upgrade the position with a blue-chip workhorse, but that’s apparently not the plan.
Etienne is allegedly going to used heavily as a receiver and change of pace to Robinson and veteran Carlos Hyde.
Using that type of draft capital on a position with interchangeable talent, only to slot him in every once in a while, seems questionable at best.
What a day. Pumped to be a Jaguar and to be joining the @NFLExtraPoints Team. Jaguars Extra Points cardmembers receive 20% off https://t.co/PuDy01CvUP purchases #DUUUVAL. Apply today! – https://t.co/Q5uPeaJW2z #ad pic.twitter.com/VXuJPVkDFN
— Travis Etienne Jr⁶𓅓 (@swaggy_t1) April 30, 2021
Signing Tim Tebow
If there’s one thing you can say about Meyer, it’s that he certainly seems to be loyal.
Undoubtedly with Meyer’s blessing, the Jaguars signed running back Hyde this offseason.
Hyde already had a previous tour of duty with Jacksonville back in 2018, but Meyer and Hyde’s connection from their Ohio State days was enough for the ball-carrier to get a second chance with the team.
Taking things one step further, the Jaguars signed another Meyer former player, Tim Tebow, to a contract as well.
Tebow had a tremendous amount of success with his former coach at the University of Florida, but was never really able to get it going in the NFL.
The last time the former Gator standout played an NFL game was in December 2012, failing to establish himself as a quarterback.
Now he’s trying to revive his football career at tight end, a position he’s never played before.
The Jaguars aren’t heavily invested in Tebow from a financial or contract term perspective, but it’s hard to believe that there weren’t better flier options on the free agent market than a football turned baseball player.
Hiring Of Defensive Coordinator Joe Cullen
Meyer has coached some well-rounded, NFL-talent-laden teams in his previous college stops.
While his coaching resume at the collegiate level should be well respected, his teams were able to win certain games on talent alone.
In NFL, he won’t have that luxury, as game-planning and scheme will play a large role as to whether the Jaguars are successful.
While Meyer has a lot of coaching experience, he doesn’t have experience running an NFL team. Breaking that down even further, he is even farther removed from what it takes to coach up an NFL defense.
The Jaguars hired Joe Cullen as their defensive coordinator back in February, and Cullen has coached under some impressive defensive minds over the years.
However, he’s never been a coordinator, and it’s fair to wonder if Meyer should have hired an established guy who’s overseen defenses before.
In theory, that would have helped make his transition to the NFL much smoother, without having to worry so much about one side of the ball.