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Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer certainly has had his fair share of doubters since the Jaguars chose to bring him on this offseason. Meyer was a legendary coach at the college level, winning national championships at Florida and Ohio State.
But the 57-year-old has never coached at the NFL level before, even as an assistant, and he’ll have his work cut out for him as he inherits a Jags team that is coming off the worst season in franchise history in 2020. Given the spotty track record of first-time NFL head coaches, it makes sense that Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr ranked him near the middle of the pack among new head coaching hires.
To be fair to new hires who haven’t had the chance to prove anything yet, Orr ranked all seven of them separately on his coaching power rankings. Among those coaches, Meyer ranked fourth.
4. Urban Meyer, Jaguars
Staff strength: 7
Playoff chances: 25%
Meyer’s staffing has been fascinating thus far. Credit him for taking a leap at the NFL after establishing and solidifying himself as one of the greatest head coaches in NCAA history. That said, his time in the NFL will be far more restrictive than he’s used to and his staff will be shouldered with the task of bringing Meyer up to speed. Trevor Lawrence helps, but also hinders. If the franchise quarterback’s development stalls, the finger points at the head coach … unlike college.
Meyer is below Los Angeles’ Brandon Staley, New York’s Robert Saleh, and Atlanta’s Arthur Smith on these rankings, but he comes in above Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni, Detroit’s Dan Campbell, and Houston’s David Culley.
There will be a learning curve for Meyer, and being a leader for highly paid professionals is a lot different than leading unpaid 18 to 22-year-old college students. But he has surrounded himself with a staff of highly touted NFL assistants like offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and he has a franchise quarterback to help him along — something Nick Saban, who Meyer has drawn some comparisons to, never had during his stint with the Miami Dolphins.
Meyer has a lot to prove and a lot of people to prove wrong at the NFL level, but he also has all the tools he should need to find success.