JACKSONVILLE – Welcome to a shorter-than-usual O-Zone.
It's shorter because most of the questions and answers came after the Jaguars announced the dismissal of Head Coach Urban Meyer. This occurred early Thursday morning, shortly after midnight, and the answers here regarding the dismissal focus on that – and were written quickly.
Was it surprising? Absolutely.
Was it inevitable?
In retrospect, just as absolutely.
We'll undoubtedly drill deep on this in the coming days. This will post early Thursday morning so I'll answer what I can best I can. Here we go.
Let's get to it…
Alexander from San Francisco, CA
Well, that escalated quickly.
This was the first email received following the news Meyer had been dismissed. This happened between 12:30 and 1 a.m. Thursday morning – and yeah, it absolutely escalated quicky. Really quickly. I'll say up front that as of this writing I had little time to process the news. I wanted to address the issue in the Thursday morning O-Zone because it obviously is pretty much all anyone around the Jaguars will be discussing in the coming days. First, there are Jaguars fans who are ecstatic at the news. That's understandable, but this is not a happy time – or a time for celebration. Not in the big picture. When head coaches don't work out, lives and families get thrown into turmoil and franchises endure uncertainty. It's not a happy time for the Jaguars because Meyer's hiring originally was to help signal in a new beginning and era of Jaguars football. Clearly that did not happen – and that is not a good thing. Or a happy thing. Said Jaguars Owner Shad Khan in a statement early Thursday morning: "I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone." That last sentence sums up the news pretty succinctly. It's a bitter day for the Jaguars – and certainly for Khan, who long coveted Meyer and who truly believed it in January when he said he had gotten the head-coaching decision right. But imperative for everyone? Yes, considering the drama off the field and the direction on it, the move absolutely was that.
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
Tell us, O wise one. What was the final straw?
This is a fair question. I suppose the "final straw" will be remembered as the story that broke Thursday, with Tampa Bay Times NFL writer Rick Stroud reporting that Meyer reportedly kicked former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo in the leg during the preseason. Meyer denied that Lambo's account reflected the true nature of the event, which gave that story a he-said/she-said feel. But the reality was this didn't feel like a final-straw situation nearly as much as a situation where many factors and incidents led to an inevitable ending. Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence talked on Wednesday about the drama around the franchise needing to end. He was right. It did have to end someway, somehow. Khan in the end decided to end it sooner rather than later.
Bobby from Section 410
Big O, Now that Darrell Bevell is the interim head coach, will he continue to call the offensive plays or will someone else take over those duties?
Bevell, the offensive coordinator in the first 13 games of the season, indeed will take over as interim head coach. I expect we'll learn Thursday if he will continue to call plays.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
Thank you, Mr. Khan, for doing what is right for our team. He was ALWAYS a college coach masquerading as an NFL coach. Nightmare over. Now let's build this the right way!
Chris from Tampa, FL
It's about time. Actually, it's long overdue. What a shame. What was supposed to be a fresh start with a generational talent at quarterback was derailed by an incompetent, bullying sociopath. It didn't have to be this way. And yes, all of the signs were there. Khan needs to do better.
Eric from Columbus, IN
PLEASE let anyone besides Shad pick the next coach. He may be good at many things but picking a leader is clearly not one of them.
Khan owns the Jaguars. I suspect he'll select head coaches – or at the very least, hire the people making those decisions and be heavily involved in them – until that's not true.
Sean from Jacksonville
Well, it wasn't even a One & Done. Here's hoping Bevell will get them fired up and it won't become a "out of the frying pan and into the fire" as I might have mentioned before. I wish Urban well.
I expect the Jaguars to play well Sunday against the Houston Texans. This often happens under an interim head coach as there is often a renewed focus and energy. Frying pan into the fire implies it might be worse. Well, things always can worse but in this case that's not the big-picture issue. That will happen after the season when Khan sets the course for the franchise's direction. And yes … here's wishing Meyer well.
Rob from Ponte Vedra
Wow, John. That escalated quickly. I guess it was the Lambo story? I wonder if stories will continue to surface now that Urban is gone. What a shame. Who do you think will call plays? I'm sure a lot of fans would prefer not Bevell, but is there a better option? This is another confusing coaching search/GM power structure situation for Khan, and it will be interesting to see how much decision making power he gives to General Manager Trent Baalke versus the new coach. Here we go again ... Moodachay.
You raise multiple questions, many of which I don't expect to be answered until after the season. I don't know if Bevell will call plays for the remainder of the season. I suppose that matters, but it's not a particularly hot-button issue compared to the identity of the next coach. Will stories continue to surface? Yes, the nature of Meyer's tenure and of regime change makes that extremely likely. As for the coaching search and power structure … those answers will come soon enough. Khan reset the franchise a year ago. This represents another such reset – with all the accompanying issues.
Thomas from Blacksburg VA
I will never again question Khan's commitment to the team and Jacksonville. DUUUUUVALLLLLLLLLL
Ben from Duluth, MN
"Just wait." "Stay tuned." Was that you finally getting signs from inside the building that Meyer was a goner?
No. Just a feeling of inevitability.
Zack from Jax Beach
It's extremely hard being a lifelong fan of the most dysfunctional, unsuccessful and pathetic franchise in professional sports. It's even harder to watch the national media trash us leading up to the season constantly, and then be completely 100 percent correct on all of it. What's it like for you team writer guys? I often watch young promising teams like the Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals with extreme envy. What's that like for you? Do you look at the Cardinals writer and think to yourself, "Must be nice?"
No. I empathize with Jaguars fans and wish for their sake the Jaguars were better. This fan base deserves better than this. Much better. I also wish this team was better on the field for the players, coaches and staff members – many of whom I know well and respect. I know how hard they work, what they give to their profession and how much better life is for them when they win. But Jacksonville is my home and this job is the one I want. I don't envy other writers – and I don't particularly care if other teams are good, bad or average.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
How truthful is SI's Jimmy Traina when he says, "I know that people won't like hearing this, but here's the truth: The Jacksonville media has no influence and nobody in the U.S. cares about the Jaguars." Curious to hear from a Jacksonville media member.
Sports Illustrated through its illustrious history has employed many, many people who I greatly respect. And have heard of.
Michael from Jacksonville
Our beaches are great, and the weather has generally been good. A little two-decade drought of bad football won't bring me down. One Fer Jax.
Hey, one fer Jacksonville.
Brandon from Louisville, KY
In the hospital right now, holding my newborn baby boy. Adding a new Jaguar fan to the world: father to son.
Now, that is good news. Congratulations.