Ranking the Jaguars’ 8 best coaching candidates to replace Urban Meyer

The highly publicized hiring of coach Urban Meyer by the Jaguars is officially a total disaster. Team owner Shad Khan fired Meyer on December 16. Jacksonville was 2-11 with the three-time national college football champion leading the way. Meyer was hired after a campaign from 1-15 in 2020.

Khan eventually came to a boiling point with Meyer after questionable training and reports of dissent across the organization, but the momentum toward a one-time breakup had been building for a long time. There were questionable decisions regarding the coach (Chris Doyle?) And staff (Tim Tebow?) Ahead of the season. During the season, the Jaguars’ rocky outfield performance dragged down No. 1 quarterback overall Trevor Lawence. There was also Meyer’s off-field indiscretion after Week 4, which added to the volatile mix.

Khan made a sizeable and eye-catching investment in Meyer, but after one last negative story, decided not to give him an extended opportunity to turn things around. A quick shot during the 2021 NFL season was based on Meyer losing the respect of the players and all of those games.

Darrell Bevell was named interim coach in Meyer’s place, but he’s not on SN’s obvious target list for Jacksonville’s next full-time coach. All of them are designed to produce real results with Lawrence:

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Byron Leftwich, Offensive Coordinator, Buccaneers

The 41-year-old Leftwich has done a great job as Bruce Arians’ protégé syncing up with the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. The former Jaguars starting quarterback perhaps should have returned to his first NFL home by now, moving three hours down the road from Tampa.

Leftwich would be a great influence on Lawrence with all his experience. It doesn’t hurt that he can now show off a Super Bowl ring.

Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator, Cowboys

Moore is only 33, but does how he turned Dak Prescott and Dallas into a versatile and explosive scoring monster really matter? He’s shown to be mature beyond his age, enough that offensive-minded Mike McCarthy had to make the necessary smart move and keep him calling the play. The former Boise State star quarterback would have a blast devising ways to maximize Lawrence’s dazzling set of big-arm skills as well as athleticism.

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Eric Bieniemy, Offensive Coordinator, Chiefs

If the guy helping Brady or Prescott doesn’t sound attractive, how about the guy who works with Patrick Mahomes, who long ago fell behind on a head coaching job somewhere at 52? Again, everything must try to turn Lawrence into an elite quarterback as quickly as possible. Remember Mahomes was MVP in Year 2, his first season as a full-time starter.

Joe Brady, former offensive coordinator, Panthers

Or why doesn’t the boy who worked so brilliantly with Lawrence rival Joe Burrow in college? Again, Khan and the Jaguars shouldn’t care one bit that Brady turned only 32 in September. He helped win a national title in college and has worked well with Sean Payton prior to the firing of Matt Rhule from Carolina.

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Shane Waldron, offensive coordinator, Seahawks

Man, with so many worthy replacements, the Jaguars couldn’t justify retaining Meyer for Year 2. Waldron, 42, has gone from Sean McVay’s staff with the Rams to trying to help Russell Wilson improve, before him and the quarterback. it was held back by the more conservative Pete Carroll. Hey, a young Wilson was strong and mobile too! If the Seahawks can get away from the Bevell-Brian Schottenheimer heaviness, the Jaguars can too.

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You got to be kidding. Is the guy who has turned Josh Allen into an elite quarterback also available? The 46-year-old deserves his chance given the wonders he has done in Buffalo. He also has invaluable experience with both Nick Saban and Bill Belichick.

Scott Turner, offensive coordinator, Washington

There seems to be a theme here, right? Turner, 39, has made Washington’s offense spectacular even with Taylor Heinicke at the helm. He has a good pedigree as the son of Norv and protégé of Ron Rivera.

Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator, Patriots

The 45-year-old almost got a second chance to head coach in the AFC South when the Colts were set to sign him in 2018, only to go with Frank Reich at the end. McDaniels’ time with the Broncos ended more than a decade ago in 2010 and since then he has matured as a playmaker and leader under Belichick. He gives the Jaguars a reason to copy given what he’s done with the best rookie quarterback of 2021, Mac Jones.

Wow, it looks like any of these younger offensive minds would be an improvement over Meyer, giving Khan plenty of pros to go with one of them after a failed attempt at college.