HOUSTON, Texas – Senior writer John Oehser examines Head Coach Urban Meyer's post-game press conference following a 37-21 loss to the Houston Texans Sunday in a 2021 Week 1 game at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas …
- Mistakes mattered. Meyer, who coached his first game in the NFL Sunday, made that clear immediately – emphasizing multiple mistakes made by the Jaguars, particularly early. The Jaguars committed seven penalties on their first four drivers, which contributed heavily to an early 14-0 deficit that became a 27-7 Texans halftime lead. "We were moving the ball and all of a sudden you look up and see that damned penalty flag," Meyer said. "Some just can't happen." The Jaguars committed four first-half holding penalties, with three being called on the offensive line – two on right tackle Jawaan Taylor and one on center Brandon Linder. Wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. also was called for holding in the first half. "That was the biggest disappointment," Meyer said. "All of a sudden you get out of your rhythm running the ball and you get down a couple of scores. You're throwing 51 passes. That's not what we've got to be." Meyer called the issues "self-inflicted" and "inexcusable." He added, "They are things that need to be fixed. Three preseason games, you'd think we would have that fixed. That's something, I would guess that you would not see that going forward. It's inexcusable."
- Difference-maker. Meyer afterward praised Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who completed 21 of 33 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns – and whose ability to create big plays made a huge difference Sunday. Taylor's passes of 40 and 52 yards to wide receiver Brandin Cooks set up first-half touchdowns and he also had a 29-yard run in the second half. Meyer said and defensive coordinator Joe Cullen estimated that the defense had Taylor in its grasp three times only to have the veteran make significant plays. "He extended the play," Meyer said of Taylor. "A couple of times he just launched the ball and those guys made plays. I've always thought he was a heck of a player. He had a good day. When a quarterback can hurt you that way … he did a good job."
- Resolution to work. If Meyer had a post-game theme, it was about a real resolve to improve and move forward from the one-sided Week 1 loss. "We've all gotten our ass kicked before; let's tighten up and go," Meyer said. "I believe in this team. I believe in our staff. We'll come back to work. I believe in those guys." That was early in the post-game availability, with Meyer later deflecting a question about his well-documented issues handling losing by saying: "I hear that a lot. I'd rather people not worry about me – a gray-haired dude that has been around a long time. I've got a bunch of players in there (the Jaguars' locker room) who deserve to win – and who work their tails off. There's only one answer. That's the great thing about this sport. It's not like we have to make a secret pass call or a secret protection call. It's just work. It's the greatest thing about the game of football. Go out and work. That's what we shall do."
- "Trevor's going to be great." Meyer following Sunday's loss fully supported rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who struggled at times – and who looked impressive at times – in his first NFL start. Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, completed 28 of 51 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions Sunday. He threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Manhertz to cut the Jaguars' deficit to 14-7, but three interceptions on back-to-back second-quarter drives. He threw two second-half touchdown passes and also threw a third-quarter interception. "I love Trevor," Meyer said. "We all do. He's just going to get better and better. Offensive football is about 11 guys doing the job. That didn't happen today. Trevor's going to be great. He's a very accurate passer. Today at times he wasn't. We've got to figure out why."
- Turning point. This came in the second quarter, with the Texans pulling away with 13 points after Lawrence's touchdown pass to Manhertz. "I felt great," Meyer said of the 14-7 deficit with 12:20 remaining in the first half. "The sideline felt great. Our defense is starting to play pretty good. It kind of got away from us. I remember it like it was right now: 14-7, on the road, young quarterback … 'Let's get going. No more penalties. Let's get going.' It didn't happen."