The Jacksonville Jaguars have completely reset their franchise at arguably the two most important levels of the organization.
The franchise drafted quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick, and hired Urban Meyer as head coach to steer the team back in the right direction.
While the Lawrence selection was one of the most anticipated locks in recent NFL history, the decision to bring Meyer into the fold was a bit of a shock to some.
Jacksonville could have gone in a number of directions in their rebuild, but decided to entrust their roster to a candidate who has not been a head man in the league before.
Despite not having coached a game yet, the Meyer tenure in North Florida has gotten off to a shaky start.
— Urban Meyer (@CoachUrbanMeyer) June 3, 2021
Earlier this month, the franchise was fined $200,000 for violations involving OTAs, or organized team activities.
As the leader of the team, Meyer was also personally docked $100,000 for letting these infractions occur under his watch.
To be fair, the Jaguars weren’t the only team who was punished, but they were levied with the highest fine total.
This may indicate that Meyer was open to, or even encouraging more intense practices than allowed under NFL guidelines.
In some ways, it’s understandable why Meyer might want to push the envelope before training camp.
He’s never been through an NFL offseason program before, and probably realizes that he’s not going to win at the professional ranks with just talent alone.
Putting in the work in May and June is something that will produce benefits in September and October, would be the logic.
But there are a few concerning issues with that line of thinking.
In college, the head coach is usually the face of the program, since players are usually only on the team for four to five years at most.
It’s unlikely that an 18-20-year-old college kid will push back on a coach if they feel like they are not being handled properly.
In the NFL, however, there’s a fine line between putting in the commensurate effort in order to improve, and going full throttle all the time when it may not be needed.
Veteran players, and athletes who are concerned about making it to their second and third contracts, are not always going to want to put their bodies on the line in the spring, or on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the season.
Meyer has already talked about the level of competition he wants to instill, and individually called out wide receiver DJ Chark for his play last year.
He’ll have to be very careful about how hard he pushes his guys, or he’ll risk losing the locker room.
There’s also the aspect of knowing what you don’t know.
In other words, since Meyer hasn’t been privy to an NFL offseason progression before, he needs to lean on others who have been there before.
He’s the head coach, and should make all final decisions.
But if he didn’t ask, or didn’t listen to the restrictions put in place around OTA practices, then that’s a cause for concern.
— Urban Meyer (@CoachUrbanMeyer) June 15, 2021
Meyer’s college track record speaks for itself, and he is probably used to doing things a certain way at that level that has resulted in tons of success.
In the NFL, his success will be determined by a village of people around him in Jacksonville, and how he utilizes them both personally and professionally will determine his success.