JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jason from North Pole
The coaching staff has been announced and to most of us, they are a bunch of random names. You are on record stating that defensive coordinator Joe Cullen was a great hire. Is there another assistant coach that was announced that we should be particularly excited about?
The Jaguars on Thursday announced their 2021 coaching staff – and it's absolutely true that a new coaching staff is mostly just names and resume lines to many fans. We at jaguars.com – myself and the "supporting cast" – hope to familiarize fan/observers with the staff more in the coming weeks and months. And you're right that I'm a fan of the Cullen hire; he has been one of the NFL's best pass-rush coaches for many years and I have little doubt he will fare well as a coordinator. I also thought retaining offensive line coach George Warhop made sense; he's a 25-year NFL veteran, and considering you likely will start a rookie quarterback next season, continuity there should be a positive. As far as other new hires … being able to hire Brian Schottenheimer as passing-game coordinator could be a real "get" for Meyer. With offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell having 14 years of experience as an NFL coordinator, Schottenheimer's 12 years of experience in the same role in the NFL should put to rest any notion that the Jaguars' offensive minds aren't experienced enough or don't know enough about the NFL for Meyer's offensive approach to transition to the professional game.
Sean from Oakleaf, FL
Why does Trevor Lawrence feel like he needs to throw at his February 12 Personal Pro Day (can you ask him, please)? Can't he just go over to Urban's house and toss a few in the back yard?
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence indeed will hold his Pro Day Friday, holding it earlier than usual so he can undergo surgery on his left shoulder (labrum) in time to get healthy for the 2021 season as soon as possible. Why does he feel the need to throw for NFL people? I would think because he doesn't assume he will be selected No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft just because everybody says that will happen. He seems like a humble kid, and it seems holding the Pro Day is a sign he doesn't feel entitled. There's admittedly also an element of him having the Pro Day because it's just sort of what's done. That isn't always the best reason to do things, but it's how things often go.
The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL
Unless I'm missing it, it doesn't seem that a quarterback coach was announced. Who is going to coach the QBs?
Schottenheimer also will work with quarterbacks in addition to his duties as passing-game coordinator.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, do we always have this many coaches?
Pretty much, yeah. Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer's staff is big. It includes a chief of staff and a director of sports performance. But beyond that, it's not that out of the ordinary.
Eddie from Jacksonville
With all of the draft capital and cap space the Jags have, do you see a scenario where they bring the Culligan Girl back?
I have no idea what you're talking about.
Chris from Space City, TX
I see Urban has caused a bit of an uproar by hiring his friend and "good ole boy" to further embarrass a losing franchise. Not really surprised that Meyer would go out on this very dangerous, culture-killing exploit; I'm just surprised Khan signed off on it. He really has entrusted U.M. with the keys to the house. This is a discussion forum involving all things Jaguars. Being that this is a Jaguar hire, I really hope you don't run from this topic. I would like your honest opinion of the unnecessary hire. Seems to me NFL is going to need way more than Rooney Rule to combat good-ole-boy mentality.
You're referencing Meyer hiring Chris Doyle as the Jaguars' director of sports performance, a controversial hiring because Doyle – the strength-and-conditioning coach at the University of Iowa from 1999-2019 – left Iowa this past June after reaching a separation agreement after a group of players spoke about mistreatment in the program. Many of those players are black. Stories about this are easily accessible by googling "Chris Doyle," and Meyer discussed the hire extensively Thursday, so I won't rehash all details here. This hire, as expected, has been widely criticized, and Meyer addressed it Thursday by saying he, Owner Shad Khan and General Manager Trent Baalke all vetted Doyle during the hiring process – and that Khan was very much involved in the decision. Meyer also said his relationship with Doyle goes back 20 years and that there were "a lot of hard questions asked, a lot of vetting involved with all our staff, but we did a very good job vetting that one." My honest opinion is this I don't yet know how I feel about the hire because I don't know Doyle personally – and I don't know anyone well who knows Doyle personally. All I know is what I've read and heard people say about him, and my experience is I would rather learn on my own about a person than pass judgement based on situations I don't know first-hand. What I also do know is Meyer believes very strongly in second chances. It has been part of his career for many years – even when it has caused him to endure criticism. People who I trust who know Meyer believe he's misunderstood on this front, and that his belief in second chances isn't a lack of character but a belief that even people who make mistakes should be allowed a path through which right their course. This is certainly in line with that.
JR from The Squatchlands
Zone, I have never written in before, but the hire of Chris Doyle has compelled me to do so. It was exciting to think about the potential of the complete rebuild of the team, but how can you feel confident rebuilding when you hire people with a history of bigotry? As the only owner in the NFL who is a person of color, I would expect more from Khan. Sure, he was "vetted," but we all know that's nonsense. This hire is a stain on the organization.
You say "we all know that's nonsense?" Not to be flippant, but I don't know if that's true. Khan absolutely is not insensitive to matters of race or injustice. And there's no question everyone around the Jaguars realized this would be a controversial hire. They knew there would be fallout and criticism, and Khan certainly knew. And if he thought it was a bad hire, or the wrong move, he certainly wouldn't have allowed it.
Chris from San Diego, CA
What is the significance of the director of sports performance and strength and conditioning coaches? I have always wondered how much interaction/impact they have on the players. Don't the players at this point have their own workout routines and focus mainly on drills and practice? Do you have any insight on this part of an NFL organization?
I've never been around an organization with a "director of sports performance," though Meyer on Friday described Doyle's role as follows: "He's a director so he reports directly to me. Then underneath him, you have the strength program, you have the training room, you have the equipment room, you have sports psychology, and anyone that has any contact with our players will be direct reports to Chris. His job is to make sure we're doing the best of the best. With the strength staff, we study all the analytics involved in training, also the physical therapists, which he's an expert in these areas, just anything sports performance related. I obviously include our nutrition program, so all those will all fall under the direction of Chris." But, to answer your question … yes, the strength-and-conditioning staff and all other departments included in Meyer's description have extensive interaction with/impact on players. Strength coaches in particular typically spend far more time with players than position coaches because strength coaches are around players throughout the offseason when players can't have extensive interaction with position coaches and coordinators. Now, how much interaction will Doyle have directly with players? That remains to be seen, but the departments he will oversee impact players greatly.
Nick from Virginia Beach, VA
Hopefully, Chris Doyle has learned from his mistakes at Iowa. How will the players react to this hire?
We'll see. Is this a risky hire? A controversial one? Sure. But if Meyer believed there would be a negative reaction among players, he wouldn't do it. Few things matter to him more than culture. Meyer believes it won't be an issue in the locker room or in free agency. Time will tell how it goes.
WB from Yulee, FL
What's your take on Urban & our new staff?
Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.