JACKSONVILLE – What's fair is fair.
And as Urban Meyer sees it, what would be unfair would be deciding who makes his first Jaguars team on something other than merit.
So, while announcing "winners and losers" in real time over a loudspeaker – as was the case on Day 7 of Jaguars 2021 Training Camp Wednesday – is unusual by NFL standards, it doesn't strike the Jaguars' first-year head coach as being odd at all.
"We're going to have to make decisions – a big roster going to be a smaller roster," Meyer said Wednesday following a two-hour, twenty-minute practice in full pads at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. "I think to be fair to players … this is the way guys make a living.
"I don't believe in subjectivity. I believe in, 'What's your record?'''
The Jaguars during Wednesday's practice conducted multiple winner-loser drills – including one-one-one pass rush and pass coverage and special-teams coverage. Meyer decided winners and losers in those drills and had them announced immediately over a loudspeaker throughout practice.
"There's one way to do it, and that's scrimmage forever – but you can't do that," Meyer said. "You create scenarios where it's one-on-one. Everybody's got a score. What's your record?"
The idea is to create as fair a means as possible to evaluate players. Meyer said the coaching staff will meet Thursday, the players' day off, to evaluate the roster. The Jaguars currently have 90 players on the roster. They must reduce to 85 by August 17, to 80 by August 24 and 53 by August 31.
NFL teams carry 53 players during the regular season.
"Everybody has a record," Meyer said. "If you lose a lot, but you have a lot of potential … that's not real good."
Meyer is in his first NFL coaching job after 17 seasons as one of the most successful head coaches in college football history. He has discussed multiple times in recent weeks that cutting players entering a season will be a new experience.
"This is going to be a first, but I've had to make decisions on who starts," Meyer said. "It's not fair to a player to say, 'You're starting because I like you,' or, 'because you're from Ohio.' You just use stats. They say, 'Statistics are for losers.' My comment is usually, 'Losers say statistics are for losers.' You've got a record. What's you're record. How's it going?
"That Tom Brady guy, his record is really good. You move him to the [Tampa Bay] Buccaneers, it's really good. It's really good."
Meyer said the Jaguars have yet to decide on preseason playing time for rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, saying he will rely heavily on offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer in that decision. Bevell and Schottenheimer have a combined 26 years' experience as NFL offensive coordinators. "There's a reason I hired Bevell and Schottenheimer; they're veteran quarterback coaches at this level," Meyer said. "They're also veteran quarterback coaches with [experience coaching] young players [at the position]."
Meyer said he expects second-year cornerback CJ Henderson to return to practice sometime in the next few days. Henderson, the No. 9 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, missed the last eight games of last season and underwent offseason shoulder surgery. He has been on the reserve/COVID-19 list since the start of '21 training camp.
Meyer on training camp in Florida heat: "It's hard. They've turned up the heat a little. This still isn't Gainesville heat yet. But it's hot. It's thick. I admire guys who can go do it—especially the big guys. I just appreciate the big cats throwing their 330-pound bodies around."