As storm clouds continue to hover directly over Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, it’s fair to ask a simple question regarding his short-term future. If he’s fired or if he quits, who takes over?
Assistant head coach Charlie Strong has as much NFL experience as Meyer — four games and counting. Strong would surely not be the interim coach.
Defensive coordinator Joe Cullen would be a hard sell, given his “Sir, this is a Wendy’s” moment from yesteryear. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell would make the most sense, especially since passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer could then take over as the offensive coordinator.
Still, none of the internal options seem ideal. So maybe owner Shad Khan should consider doing something extremely unconventional, making an outside hire for the interim job.
The best option, by far, would be Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, who is in many ways the exact opposite of Meyer. It would be fascinating (but as an NBC colleague disappointing) to see Dungy agree to take over the Jaguars, simply for the purposes of getting the team through the balance of the season and helping Khan find the right coach to move the program forward in 2022.
Another possibility would be veteran coach Jeff Fisher, who has coached 350 NFL games. Like Dungy, he’d help stabilize things pending the hiring of a new coach in 2022.
Wade Phillips has worked 122 games as an NFL head coach, and he has said repeatedly he’d like to coach again. How about him?
Some think that the situation in Jacksonville, while no longer at full boil, could still explode after the next two games, against the Titans at home and the Dolphins in London. With a bye in Week Seven, that would be the ideal time to make a change, if Khan believes a change should be made.
Indeed, look at the clip from the embedded video of the manner in which quarterback Trevor Lawrence broke it down in practice on Wednesday. The magic word was “grind!,” and multiple players got a kick out of that.
Khan, if the team loses the next two games, could decide to go outside for a replacement. The team’s losing streak stands at 19. On Sunday, the Jaguars could become only the third team to lose 20 in a row. Then comes, in Week 12, a game against the Falcons and, possibly, consecutive loss No. 26, which would match the 1976-77 Buccaneers.
Three games later, in Week 15, the Jaguars would host the Texans with a “chance” to match the all-time record of 29 (held by the 1942-45 Chicago Cardinals) on the line. The all-time record of 30 would come the following Sunday, at the Jets.
It’s still unlikely that the Jaguars will go 0-15 this year. Still, they went 0-15 last year after winning in Week One. More importantly, the performance of the team over the next two weeks will help Khan decide whether things can get better, or worse, if Urban Meyer remains the head coach after the bye.
A couple of ugly losses in Week Five and Week Six could be enough to get Khan to turn the page, and possibly to try to hire someone not currently with the team in an effort to apply a tourniquet to one of the worst runs of futility the NFL has ever seen.