Who will be the next head coach of the Jaguars?

Riley Platt, Reporter

Finding a successful head coach is something that has eluded the Jacksonville Jaguars for quite some time. The franchise has continually bounced from coach to coach, and 2021 has brought yet another turn in the cycle. With the firing of Doug Marrone, the Jaguars have a chance to find their guy. Will they finally be able to hit the bullseye?

Ever since the golden days of the Tom Coughlin era, things have just sailed downhill. Keep in mind, this is a franchise that advanced to the AFC championship game in just its second season of existence. Despite four playoff appearances in their first five seasons, the Jaguars have put together just one playoff run in the last 13 seasons. As gloomy as things have been, there is hope on the horizon. If Jacksonville can make a good hire at the critical position, the team could accomplish great things in the near future.

In just about any other year, this coaching vacancy would be nowhere near as attractive as it currently is. The rights to the first overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft are a key factor in drawing in a top-tier candidate. This pick will likely be used to select Clemson quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, who could bring stability to a QB situation that has been messy, to say the least.

Prior to Marrone’s dismissal, the team parted ways with David Caldwell, general manager of over seven years. This additional opening creates the possibility of a tandem hiring, where one position may be filled in relation to the other. Team owner Shahid Khan has the last say in the decision, so his interviews with candidates will be critical in who gets the job.

Photo by Hence the Boom via Unsplash.

The consensus front runner for weeks has been former college football Head Coach Urban Meyer. Locally, he is best known for his tenure at the University of Florida, leading the Gators to two national championships. Following his stint in Gainesville, he became the head coach at Ohio State, winning another national championship with the Buckeyes. 

Meyer has been absent from the gridiron since the 2018 season, serving as an analyst for Fox Sports. There are two main concerns from those opposed to the Jaguars hiring Meyer: his past health concerns and a lack of experience at the NFL level. He has had to deal with an arachnoid cyst (brain cyst), which has caused disruptions throughout his famed career.

While Meyer’s health is a valid concern, it’s hard to believe that, with the right pieces, he wouldn’t be able to succeed at the professional level. Sure, he hasn’t coached any higher than the college level, but he excelled in that venture. In fact, Meyer won a whopping 85 percent of his 219 games as a collegiate head coach. At the end of the day, the only legitimate concern for most is whether or not he would have yet another tenure stunted by health concerns. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Meyer had recently met with Khan on his yacht, so it’s safe to say that these reports are far more than mere rumors.

Let’s say that Urban Meyer doesn’t ink a deal with the Jags. Perhaps, the Los Angeles Chargers are able to swipe him away from Jacksonville. There’s also a chance that he doesn’t return to coaching. This wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Jaguars, as there are plenty of other quality candidates on the market. Perhaps the most coveted of these is Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs. Proponents for Bieniemy cite his prior experience in the NFL, along with his role in the dominant rise of the Chiefs. Either way, both of these men will be a solid option to lead this team into the future.

Ultimately, hiring the right coach could mean the difference in turning the corner as a franchise, or remaining in the depths of the league as a national laughing stock. Only time will tell whether or not the team can make a big splash and pull off a great hire. News on the hiring could break at any moment, so make sure to stay tuned with Spinnaker for updates on the hometown Jaguars.


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