Urban Meyer didn’t understand the NFL, or didn’t care

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A year ago, Urban Meyer was bringing a lifetime of college football excellence to the NFL. He apparently didn’t know what he was getting himself into.

Even if he should have.

Meyer recently appeared on Dan Dakich’s podcast to lament what became an abject failure, one of the worst less-than-one-season flame outs in league history. It’s almost as if Meyer made no effort whatsoever to research, to learn, to understand how things worked in the NFL. It’s almost as if he thought all he had to do was say, “Urban’s here” and it would all work out.

“It was the worst experience I’ve had in my professional lifetime,” Meyer told Dakich, via Audacy.com. “What really got me, I almost don’t want to say people accept it, I mean, you lose a game and you just keep — I would seriously have self-talk. I went through that whole depression thing, too, where I’d stare at the ceilings and [think], ‘Are we doing everything possible?'”

Apparently, they weren’t. Apparently, Meyer didn’t know or refused to accept that success in the NFL requires something different than success in college.

“I really believed we had a roster that was good enough to win games,” Meyer said, further confirming that he doesn’t understand how the NFL really works. “I just don’t think we did a great job. It eats away at your soul. I tried to train myself to say, ‘OK, it happens in the NFL.’ At one point, the Jaguars lost 20 in a row. Think about that . . . and we lost five in a row at one point and I remember I . . . just couldn’t function.”

Meyer sounds like a bad loser. And not in the traditional throws-the-checkboard-and-the-checkers-into-the-air sense. He sounds like someone who, when he fails, has no idea what he needs to do to try to change it. It sounds as if, instead of going all in, he simply checked out.

“It is different,” Meyer said about coaching in the NFL. “Just the amount of time you get with your quarterback. Just the amount of time you get with your team. The roster management. How you practice. The amount of reps you get before you go play a game, to me, was shockingly low.

“For example, we would practice, you maybe get one or two reps at something, next thing you know you’re calling it in the game. In college, you never do that. In college, you’re gonna get at least a dozen opportunities to practice that before you ask a player to go do it in the game. So, there are a lot of differences.”

That sounds like a copout, an excuse. A flimsy way to externalize blame for failure. Because plenty of coaches are thriving in that environment. Meyer, who arrived at the NFL for the first time on the wrong side of 55, didn’t want to humble himself and learn the NFL game. Instead, he wanted to continue to ride his horse down the street butt naked, and to be praised for it.

“Used to be in college, the reality is you spend 75 percent of your time recruiting,” Meyer said. “In professional football, there is no recruiting. It’s all scheme and it’s all roster management.”

OK, so all that time spent recruiting in college can be used on devising schemes and roster management, right? Unless Meyer simply wasn’t working hard enough (which is possible), he clearly wasn’t working smart enough.

And maybe that’s the fundamental problem. In college, he could sweet-talk his way to a roster of superior players who transcended scheme. At the NFL level, it’s all flattened from a talent standpoint. It’s more about studying film and crafting strategies and searching and searching and searching for any edge that can provide the wafer-thin difference between victory and defeat.

It’s stunning that Meyer didn’t know that. Either he did and he believed he could bend things his way or he didn’t. Regardless, it’s lunacy that he believed he could thrive in the NFL without dramatically changing his approach to coaching.

He shouldn’t have wanted to come to the NFL. And the Jaguars shouldn’t have wanted him. Maybe that’s why no one else did.

Urban Meyer didn’t understand the NFL, or didn’t care originally appeared on Pro Football Talk