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O-Zone: Wrong again

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Kathy from Jacksonville, FL

It was a relief to read the news that the decision was made. I find it so hard to understand how an employer would overlook so much incompetence. I have been impressed with rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. I'm not worried about his progress. The worrisome thing was to have someone so dysfunctional being in a position of responsibility over the Jaguars. I can't help thinking the word "finally." But I'm beginning to feel like a Jaguar fan again! (The players are great in my book!)

I've received multiple emails along these lines since the Jaguars announced the dismissal of Urban Meyer as head coach early Thursday morning. And I suppose I understand the sentiment. Remember, though: While fans and observers understandably had long since grown weary of the drama surrounding Meyer around and away from TIAA Bank Field/the team, saying "finally" with regard to Jaguars Owner Shad Khan dismissing Meyer may not be all that fair. Meyer was hired as head coach in January. He coached 11 months and 13 regular-season games. That's a remarkably short tenure for an NFL head coach – even considering the long list of issues around Meyer. Changing coaches, particularly ones who had Meyer's profile and power within the organization, marks a dramatic overhaul – and change in structure and organization. It also affects lives far beyond that of the head coach. It is not a move to make in quick-trigger fashion, and Khan's history is that he is measured and analytical when making those decisions. That's wise, because a head-coaching change is not a time for emotion. Meyer's dismissal this week wasn't delayed. This wasn't a case of something "finally" happening. It happened remarkably quickly and decisively – not because Khan wanted it to happen, but because it became so evident it had to happen.

Randy from St. Regis Falls NY

John, Tell me the truth, I can take it. Does this mean we're in … rebuild mode?

Well, yes. The Jaguars are 2-11 this season and have some significant needs to address in the offseason. That was going to be true no matter the identity of the head coach and the decision-makers. When that's true you are pretty much in Rebuild Mode. But the Jaguars have a quarterback. That's the biggest piece.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

So Dabo Sweeney or nah? In all seriousness, what do you think of one of these three for possible head coach? Jim Caldwell, Eric Bienemy, Byron Leftwich. I have been hearing Bienemy's name in a very positive way for a long time. Some think he's overdue. Leftwich hasn't been head coach, but he has done some good work with offenses and could impart some good quarterback knowledge to Trevor Lawrence having played quarterback and working with Tom Brady. Caldwell is also a good fit having a lot of experience with offenses and good quarterbacks.

I'll admit to a degree of bias here. I know Jim Caldwell well from our nine years working together in Indianapolis. I perhaps know him as well as I know any NFL coach outside Tony Dungy and a few others. Peyton Manning obviously was going to be a Hall of Fame quarterback whoever coached him, but Caldwell definitely helped his career – and Manning under Caldwell developed from a "gunslinger" who was perhaps too prone to interceptions into a four-time NFL Most Valuable player who significantly reduced turnovers his turnovers. I respect and admire what he is about and believe he would make a very good head coach for any NFL organization. I don't know Bienemy, and our paths haven't crossed enough for me to know anyone all that well who is close to him. I also didn't cover Leftwich during his career playing with the Jaguars, so I can't speak personally about him. I do know plenty of people who know him well and believe he will be a very capable coach when given the opportunity.

Nick from London, England

Why did it take so long?

Meyer had been the coach for less than a season. Within the context of the NFL, that's a lightning-fast decision.

Dave from Los Angeles, CA

Haven't written in or paid any attention to the franchise for a while, given… well, everything. But I'm writing in today to say I believe this marks the bottom. The nadir of the franchise. By definition, the future almost certainly is brighter. Now is the time to get bullish Jags.

It can always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always get worse. But probably not this time.

Jon from Brentwood, UK

Absolutely right decision by Shad. Enough chances and it was getting uglier by the day. Can the Jags get any more wins this season now Meyer is gone?


Zac from Austin, Tejas


In the end, no. I wrote and said often I expected Meyer to be the head coach of the Jaguars in 2022. I believed that until I didn't. I believed this because I knew Khan wanted it to work with Meyer – and I believed for a long time that Khan was committed to patience and pushing through the outside noise. Listening to Khan Monday when asked about Meyer, I got the impression that he was considering seriously whether to retain Meyer because the noise and drama simply wasn't subsiding. Listening to Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence speak Wednesday about the need to eliminate drama, I wondered how Khan could possibly retain him. I didn't expect the dismissal to be this week. I was surprised when I learned around 12:35 Thursday morning that it was happening. But by the end … no, I wasn't stunned.

NashvilleJag from Nashville

Would you agree that this decision by Shad Khan is going to be viewed in a positive light to the pool of coaching candidates and free agents alike?


KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF - this is a disappointing chapter for the Jags. It's unfortunate that he spoke a lot about accountability from a military perspective, but he lacked this as well as respect and honor for his players and the game. Looking forward to this new four-game season. How about you?

I am. I said on Jaguars Drive Time early this week that I didn't particularly care much how the Jaguars fared in the final four games. What I meant was it didn't feel like the results would matter much because it didn't feel like it would mean much entering the offseason. The coaching change makes me feel differently. I'm curious to see what this team – and Lawrence – will look like playing without Meyer's influence. I expect them to play very well Sunday and win, and then I will be particularly curious to see if they overall play better the final four games then they did the past five. That feels like it will matter.

Andy from Alpharetta, GA

I'm happy Khan reached this conclusion. I know it must have been tough for him. I know the results are not there, but I do think he's a good owner.

Good eye.

Steve from Jax

I'd like to say that no matter how anyone tries to celebrate today, this is a sad day. Not because Urban was the man. Not because Urban was wrongly fired. No, this day highlights another wasted year. Even worse, it represents a wasted year of however many years we'll have Trevor here. It's a sad day for the fans, players and coaches. Go Jags.

Thursday was a sad day for the reasons you cite. That's true. And it's fine. What's done is done. The idea now is to waste no more and get this moving in the right direction. If that happens, this year will be remembered as an oddity – a long, weird oddity.

Jason from Orange Park, FL

Pete Prisco called this months ago.

Pete's a good reporter and knows the NFL well. He's right a lot.

Ryan from Fremont, OH

I'm not saying that Urban was without fault, but I am so sick of the media dragging him through the mud for things that other coaches seemingly get away with all the time. It seems like the media has a vendetta against the guy and Jacksonville. It's caused me to start moving away from the game of football that I love because instead of focusing on football, we're focusing on whether Urban should be fired because he didn't know how many snaps a player took. Really?

I don't have the impression that Meyer was dismissed because he didn't know how many snaps a player took. I also had zero feeling that the media had a vendetta against Meyer. Most of the reporters who reported the major stories on Meyer are well-respected reporters with very good reputations. They don't go out of their way to report incorrect or misleading information. The risk to their own reputation isn't remotely worth the reward.

Jaguar from Comments Section

You were wrong again ... ha ha.

You're right. I guess I'll have to own it.