Urban Meyer's tenure in Jacksonville has been a mess since the beginning. His most recent antics are just another piece to the puzzle of him losing his locker room before he even gains control over it. Check out TRO's reaction to the entire situation:
via WJXT News Jax
We all saw the video(s) and photographs. We've all seen the fallout. If you somehow missed the news all week, we will refrain from posting said videos, but will just say that Meyer's hands were somewhere they shouldn't have been on someone they shouldn't have been, while his wife was at home babysitting grandchildren. He also appeared in photos with other women implying that he was flirting with them "all night." It was a terrible look, especially for a head coach at his OWN bar in a town he calls home, while wearing an Ohio State quarter-zip.
Some people think Urban Meyer's personal life should have no impact on his football life, and he should be cut some slack because he's not the first head coach (or player) to do this, and he won't be the last. Others believe that a coach should be held to a higher standard than players, and should not be out there frolicking with young women in public.
Rumors swirled that the Jaguars' organization had special meetings Monday morning determining the future of Meyer's coaching job, and that he was on his way out the door. Conspiracy theories have flown around stating that Meyer has been tanking this job ever since the USC head coach job opened up because he truly loves coaching at the college level.
Here's What We Know:
What Meyer did was absolutely foolish and a shame for his family, his team, and his image. However, the nature of his actions might have been one of the least damning thing he did solely from a football standpoint, in terms of his grasp on the locker room and what he's expected to build in Jacksonville. Rather, it has been the actions he has taken leading up to this event, his decisions immediately before, and his reactionary measures immediately after that have left Jaguars players more than disgruntled.
The NFL is filled with grown men, not impressionable college kids. In a League that is a business and players can be cut one day or traded the next, these men react to respect, honesty, transparency, almost above everything else. I guarantee you the majority of that locker room does not want to get involved in Meyer's personal marriage, but it is our opinion that he did not have a firm grasp over the locker room from the start, and he has lost what little command he had since then. Here's why:
When Meyer first took the job in Jacksonville, he hired strength coach Chris Doyle, only to have to fire him due to outside pressure given Doyle's widely known release from the University of Iowa for making racist remarks. [Strike 1]. There are literally thousands of strength coach candidates out there, pick absolutely anyone else and you avoid any type of issue. Then, Meyer signs his buddy, Tim Tebow, at age 34 to play a position he's never played before in a sport he had not played in 6 years. To no one's surprise, Tebow stunk and was cut during the preseason, wasting an opportunity for someone who could have been useful at a position group that has proven to be a major need for Jacksonville (see the recent trade of last year's first round draft pick, C. J Henderson to Carolina for tight end Dan Arnold). [Strike 2].
Fast forward to last Thursday night. The Jaguars fall to 0-4 following a last second loss in their most competitive performance yet. Immediately after the game, Meyer does NOT fly back with his team. This is absolutely unheard of for a head coach to do. Instead he elects to stay in Ohio for the long weekend, where he inevitably links up with the young female at his bar. After the whole internet (including his players) has seen the video(s) and photographs, instead of addressing it head on, or even confronting his team directly, Meyer CANCELS Monday's team meeting out of pure cowardice. Not only did he not fly back with the team after a loss, but he cut short and rejected the benefit of a long week following a Thursday night game, hindering his winless team's progress and the growth of his future franchise quarterback. He then essentially lies to his team and gives some sort of public apology phrased as if he's trying to explain to underage children why mom and dad were fighting. [Strike 3 (and 4, 5, 6, 7)]. Players were reportedly laughing at the video(s) of Meyer, laughing at the apology, and irritated by his decision making from a football standpoint.
Meyer has since apologized, and apologized, and the Jaguars owner has released the following statement:
We'll see how the team comes out against the Tennessee Titans for a division showdown in Week 5, but we find it hard to imagine that Meyer has convinced his players (especially his veterans) that he's the best option for the team and that he has placed the team at a high priority.