Urban Meyer's Former Assistant on Rumors: HC Challenges Coaches, Won't Blame Players

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 13, 2021

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer walks the sideline before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Nashville. The Titans won the game 20-0. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini

One former Urban Meyer assistant is coming to the embattled coach's defense.

"I saw the one comment, 'You're all losers'—he'd never talk like that," the ex-assistant told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. "It's more, 'What have you done for me lately?' The biggest thing was to challenge coaches. He doesn't blame players. But it's very uncomfortable for coaches. He'll go after you, he'll ask why you're doing drills a certain way, running meetings a certain way, and if you say, 'That's how I've always done it,' he'll tell you that's the worst reason you can give. He'll murder you for that. It's uncomfortable. But I promise you he's not coasting. Most coaches blame players in a situation like he's in. He doesn't."

Meyer entered Week 14 facing a firestorm of criticism after Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the Jacksonville Jaguars coach has alienated players and assistant coaches. Arguably the most damning part of the report included a tidbit about how Meyer said he's "a winner and his assistant coaches are losers" during a staff meeting.

Players, including wide receiver Marvin Jones, have also challenged Meyer's coaching tactics. Meyer forcefully denied the report following an ugly 20-0 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

"What's the answer [when things are going badly]? Start leaking information or some nonsense?" Meyer said. "No. No, that's nonsense. That's garbage. I've been very blessed. I've not really dealt with that. I've not dealt with, 'Well, did you hear what he said?' What? No. Let's improve on offense and get our quarterback in a position to be successful. That's our focus.

"What someone's brother said, or someone said someone said, that will occupy very little of my time. And if there is a source, that source is unemployed. I mean, within seconds, if there's some source that's doing that."

Meyer's first season as an NFL coach has been an unmitigated disaster. The Jaguars are 2-11 following Sunday's loss to the Titans, which featured Trevor Lawrence throwing four interceptions and the team rushing for just eight total yards. The team hasn't scored more than 17 points in seven straight games and has been outscored by 160 points this season.

While few expected the Jaguars to compete for a playoff spot this season, their lack of improvement as the season has progressed has been concerning. Even teams like the Detroit Lions and New York Jets have shown some level of promise with their young rosters and seem to play hard for their respective coaching staffs. The Jaguars looked like a completely defeated team against the Titans, seemingly resigned to playing out the string on the 2021 season.

If Meyer's seat isn't hot already, it's certainly warming. Lawrence was considered one of the greatest can't-miss prospects of his generation. He's been downright bad while playing in a scheme that has done nothing to help him.

Meyer may need to be one-and-done simply to save Lawrence from wasting his promise.