Urban Meyer still doing Urban Meyer things is a bad look for him and the Jaguars
Though the folks in Jacksonville are still reveling in the thought of Urban Meyer taking over the beleaguered NFL franchise and leading them to glory, there are still some old habits Mr. Meyer can't seem to escape.
More than likely if you follow the NFL you know about the (understatement) ill-fated decision to fire controversial former University of Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle to head the Jaguars "Athletic Performance" team.
Lets just say the move did not end well. Doyle's tenure lasted exactly one day and the fallout and questions about the hire continue.
Doyle, for those unfamiliar, was um, asked to leave Iowa after multiple reports of him mistreating Black athletes. Combined with his previous issue of landing several athletes in the hospital with an overuse injury called rhabdomyolysis you have a guy who's credentials should and were questioned.
It's not like Meyer doesn't have a history with questionable decisions either. While at Ohio State, he was dragged through the mud (rightfully) for his decision to either ignore or not help former assistant coach Zach Smith who had a rather lengthy history of domestic issues.
After Smith's arrest in 2018 denied knowing there was a history of abuse and arrests dating back to 2009 when he was one of Meyer's University of Florida coaches. Meyer released a series of confusing and disconnected statements about what he knew, all of which were eventually proven to be wrong and nearly cost Meyer his job.
Before that, dating back to his tenure with Florida, there were multiple players on that team who had arrests and/or trouble with the law almost all of which mysteriously either went away or weren't paid attention to.
Why? Because he wins.
In College Football, if you win, there are a frightening amount of things that are seemingly overlooked. If you win, you generate money. If you generate money, the athletic program is considered a success and enrollment grows. It's a vicious cycle that basically allows the head coach to be king, judge and jury on a multitude of things.
Meyer was one of those guys at Florida until things started going south and he claimed "health issues". Same thing at Ohio State, until those "health issues" returned and he fled to TV.
What I'm getting at here is this: The NFL is NOT College Football. While coaches have some latitude and many have prominent voices on their roster and coaching hires, rarely do they have the final say on anything. That goes to the team owner.
If you live or exist in Jaguar-land, all of this should scare you more than just a little bit. And hey, listen--my friends down there all say "Well, he'll win because look at all the draft picks and money we have".
That doesn't always win in the NFL. If you run the organization like a college team, yeah, you're probably not going to be successful. The history of NFL coaches is littered with guys like Meyer who completely were out of their league so-to-speak.
Hey, I'm not saying the guy won't be a success in Jacksonville, he might. But the initial decision making process is already throwing up flags.
Did not a single person in the Jaguars organization say "Hey, you know this guys recent history, right?" or "You might not want to settle on this particular guy". Yet it appears nobody did. It appears despite the claims of "Thorough vetting", nobody really thought hiring Doyle would draw some negative attention.
And that's the problem. In college, you could get away with stuff like that, in the NFL--not so much. The players have a much, much larger say in who they'll perform for and how they'll perform. If you want a player rebellion or to get yourselves scratched from a free agent location list--hire a guy with a questionable racial background.
Time will tell if this all works and if Jaguars owner Shad Khan and the management team is kowtowing to Meyer's decision making process. There's a reason coaching geniuses like Nick Saban were not successful in the NFL, the idea of a singular voice dominating every aspect of the team/program doesn't work quite so well at the professional level.
Even in New England during the glory days, for all of Bill Belichick's coaching genius, he had a Josh McDaniels running the offense or other assistants who took care of certain things the head coach couldn't. Meyer is going to need that.
Like I said, maybe I'll be wrong and Meyer will jump in, win early and get the Jaguars in the playoffs almost immediately. He's won everywhere he's been, right? Maybe he'll set a new bar for Coach/CEO and make the Jags the envy of other NFL organizations.
But any of that is going to be a "Prove it" thing. Without a track record or experience, we really have no way of knowing. If we're having this conversation again in two-years, well, it probably isn't going to work.
If we're talking about the Super Bowl champs or AFC Championship game particpant Jacksonville Jaguars, then it probably did.