Urban Meyer’s love for special teams is clear in Jags’ training camp roster

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

When he joined the NFL, many fans were familiar with the offensive firepower that Urban Meyer could bring to the pros when looking at his successful college career. Whether it was the things he achieved with Utah (where he had Alex Smith) or the legendary offenses he had with the Gators and Ohio State (where he had Tim Tebow and Ezekiel Elliott), Meyer’s teams have never struggled to score for the most part.

However, with such an impressive collegiate run on the most important side of the ball, it’s easy for fans to lose track of Meyer’s love for special teams. Since entering the league in January, though, he hasn’t let fans forget through his statements in press conferences and also through the team’s personnel.

In free agency, the Jags signed a return specialist and receiver Jamal Agnew to a three-year deal worth $14,250,000. One would have to think offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s familiarity (both were in Detroit together) with Agnew played a role in this addition, but Meyer’s desire for speed and return skills also factored into it.

In Agnew, the Jags are getting a former All-Pro punt returner (2017) who can also help as a No. 5 or No. 4 receiver. Overall, he’s returned 74 career punts for 857 yards and four touchdowns and has garnered 1,649 yards and a touchdown as a kick returner (over 64 returns).

The Jags also added former Philadelphia Eagles safety Rudy Ford during the opening day of free agency. Like Agnew, Ford is more so known for his ability on special teams. Last season, Next Gen Stats clocked Ford in at the second (22.36 MPH) and third-fastest (22.19 MPH) speeds for a punt gunner. This is just more evidence of Meyer’s love for speed and Ford has the skill set to get down the field and disrupt the return game.

Last month, the Jags also signed the league’s other All-Pro returner from 2017 in Pharoh Cooper, who garnered 932 yards on kick returns in his second season. Overall, he’ll join the Jags with 2,523 career kick return yards and a touchdown, and just under 730 career punt return yards.

When looking at the three aforementioned names alone, fans could be in for a fun training camp when it comes to special teams. Add in others like veteran and former special teams captains Lerentee McCray and Josh Lambo, plus ascending punter Logan Cooke, and it seems the Jags may be on their way to having one of the better special teams units in the NFL. For a young team like the Cardiac Cats, that can sometimes be an X-factor that helps a team get a late seed in the playoffs.