Urban Meyer: Trouble in Paradise

Image courtesy of the Florida Times Union

By Jack Cherico 

The saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” applies to most things in life. Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer is thinking about that phrase right now, as he must be cherishing his days as the Ohio State golden boy. 

To explain, things have not been going well for Meyer since he signed on to be Jacksonville’s head coach, and the team has struggled so far in his tenure, putting up a 0-4 record. Meyer had an incident at a bar he owned in Ohio after the Jaguars game against Cincinnati, in which he was dirty dancing with a woman that was not his wife. Jaguars owner Shad Khan said about the incident, “What I will say is his conduct last weekend was inexcusable. I appreciate Urban’s remorse, which I believe is sincere. Now, he must regain our trust and respect.”

For a coach, losing the trust of the locker room is one of the worst things one can do because if your players do not trust you, they will not go the extra mile to win football games. Meyer was hired after the Jaguars went 1-15, and Khan gave a multi-year contract at an undisclosed 12 million dollars a year. Meyer’s trouble with the team started as early as the NFL draft when he took Clemson running back Travis Etienne with the 25th overall pick. Etienne was a great college running back, but fan and team favorite James Robinson had just put up a 1,000-yard season, and it seemed like Meyer wanted to replace him for no conceivable reason. Next came the signing of former Heisman Trophy winner and Florida QB Tim Tebow, who had not touched an NFL field in 6 years. Meyer switched Tebow’s position to a tight end and drummed up an unnecessary media circus that distracted team chemistry. Meyer and the Jaguars were also fined 300,000 dollars for breaking NFL practice rules and violating the collective bargaining agreement. 

The Jaguars’ first game against the Houston Texans also did not go according to plan. A report came out hours before the game that Meyer is rubbing team staff the wrong way, cannot handle losing, and is unfamiliar with the NFL schedule. The Texans are one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league, yet they beat Jacksonville 37-21, with Jacksonville rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence starting his NFL career with three interceptions. 

After three straight losses, the fateful Thursday night in Cincinnati comes, where the Jaguars lose 24-21. On October 2nd, the video showing Meyer’s infidelity leaks, and on the 4th, he apologizes. A question most are asking is, why didn’t Meyer fly home to Jacksonville with the team? Especially after a loss, the flight home is time for the coach to talk to players, boost morale, and discuss what went wrong. However, Meyer skipped the flight to drink with his family, and we all know what happened from there. 

Meyer is on thin ice, and if he does not figure out what it means to be the coach of an NFL team soon, he will be forced into early retirement and will have all the time in the world to hang out in his bar.

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