Urban Meyer’s disastrous tenure in Jacksonville can be defined by slip after slip, and one of those gaffes apparently was a lack of information about some of the NFL’s greatest playmakers, according to a new report.
Meyer is said to have been “unfamiliar with star players in the league,” as multiple sources told The Athletic, including future Hall of Fame defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Meyer is even said to have asked a staffer, “Who is this 99 guy on the Rams?” and “I think he might be a problem for us.”
In addition to Donald, who just won his first Super Bowl in February, Meyer was also reportedly unaware of Deebo Samuel of the 49ers and Jamal Adams of the Seahawks. However, when it came to his own players and staff, Meyer didn’t exactly inspire confidence in their future.
“He feels that threats motivate us,” said recipient DJ Chark, who recently signed with the Lions.
“I know he would come to us and tell us that if the receivers didn’t get it right, he wouldn’t fire us, he would fire our coach. He usually said that when the coach was around.”
As one veteran staffer put it, Meyer’s reign was “the most toxic environment I’ve ever been a part of.”
The report also said Meyer made an insensitive comment to the wide receiver and Florida native John Brown, who had gone the wrong way in practice, worked on it after training with Trevor Lawrence.
“Hey, Trevor, you need to slow down for him,” Meyer reportedly told the two players. “These guys from the South, their transcripts are wrong.”
Meyer’s alleged behavior came under fire long before his departure in December. After a loss to the Bengals in September, he chose to stay behind in Ohio and was later filmed dancing in a bar with a young woman.
Later in the season, Meyer again raised eyebrows over the star’s benching that drove James Robinson back in what would be a huge loss to the Rams. During the game, Robinson fiddled with the ball and sat down for several snaps, with Carlos Hyde taking his place. Robinson, who had sustained an injury, later returned to the game and publicly questioned his coach’s decision.
In the days leading up to his firing, NFL.com released a scathing report on Meyer, accusing the coach of calling himself a winner at a staff meeting, comparing his aides to losers and challenging them “to defend their resumes.” .
The final straw seemed to come with the release of a Tampa Bay Times piece, in which former Jaguars tipper Josh Lambo claimed Meyer kicked him during practice in August. Meyer was fired in mid-December, 13 games into the season.
The Jaguars have since hired former Eagles coach Doug Pederson to replace Meyer. Pederson has already received the stamp of approval from Lawrence, who selected the Jaguars with the top pick in last year’s NFL Draft.