Urban Meyer’s career so far: can he transform the Jaguars?

Urban Meyer career up to this point

By: Andy Davies

The Jacksonville Jaguars will go into the 2021 season with a new head coach. Urban Meyer is the new man to take charge, hoping to be the guy to change the fortunes of a franchise that has struggled for many years. After drafting the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck in Trevor Lawrence this year with the number one overall pick, the Jags fans have rarely gone into a season this excited. The Jags have twice gone into a season on the back of reaching an AFC Championship game but with the addition of Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence, there is a real buzz around the organization and in the city of Jacksonville. However, Urban Meyer has never coached in the NFL. He is one of the most successful college head coaches of his generation. Can he translate this to the pros?

His Journey As A Player

Meyer was a walk-on in college as a defensive back for the University of Cincinnati, despite initially being drafted by Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves in 1982. Injury would deny Meyer the chance to make it as a professional player, but he showed signs of his coaching credentials whilst in college. He would go back to college, heading to Ohio State University where he studied sports administration. He would get a degree at both colleges, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Cincinnati and sports administration at Ohio State, which will have no doubt helped him massively during his time as a football coach.

He may not have made it to the NFL as a player but he showed signs of his credentials as a coach during his time in college. Meyer would often spend additional time in practice, learning how to run them and handle substitutions. These all prepared him for life as a coach. As a player, he was part of a Cincinnati team that finished 2-9, with Meyer saying that it “wasn’t a great experience. We weren’t very good”. This will help him be prepared for a Jaguars team that won just one game in 2020. His former coach in Cincinnati David Currey spoke of his coaching abilities.

“He was not a great player but you could tell he would coach for a living. He was a student of the game, always trying to learn about things”.

The Start Of Meyer’s Coaching Career

He started his coaching career in 1985 as a defensive backs coach for St Xavier High School in Ohio before becoming a graduate assistant for two seasons with Ohio State. He spent two years with Illinois State as an outside linebackers coach in 1988 and a quarterback and wide receivers coach in 1989. He would then spend eleven years as a wide receivers coach, spending six with Colorado State and then five with Notre Dame before getting his first head coaching job in 2001 with Bowling Green.

The Early Stages Of His Time As A Head Coach In College

Meyer only spent two seasons with Bowling Green but would leave the team with a 17-6 record in charge. Highlights of his time there was the 56-21 win over rivals, the University of Toledo Rockets. Whilst with Bowling Green, he transformer their fortunes. He joined with the team having gone 2-9 in 2000 to then go 8-3 in 2001 and 9-3 in 2002, before leaving for the University of Utah.

Utah hired Meyer and was an instant success, going 10-2 and winning the Liberty Bowl in 2003. They would go 12-0 and win the Fiesta Bowl in 2004. Whilst with the university, he coached safety Eric Weddle and quarterback Alex Smith, who went on to be the number one overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Smith would become an inspiration to everyone when he went on to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year during the 2020 season, returning the field after a life threatening injury in 2018.

Meyer openly claimed that he “made Utah competitive” during his time there. Morgan Scalley played as a defensive back under Meyer at Utah before going on to become a defensive coordinator with the college. He spoke of how Meyer changed everything.

“You could tell it would be different from the first session at the weight room. I never had butterflies going into a weight room and that had me going”.

Success With Florida and Ohio State

The Florida Gators then came calling in 2005, where Meyer would spend the next six seasons. He would coach notable players such as Cam Newton, Carlos Dunlap, Janoris Jenkins, Maurkice and Mike Pouncey, Tim Tebow and Trey Burton during his time in Florida as head coach. With an overall record 65-15 with the Gators, Meyer won Florida the Outback Bowl and the Sugar Bowl as well as winning two National Championships. He had a 5-1 record with Florida in Bowl games. Following a health scare, Meyer decided to leave the Gators after the 2010 seasons as he wanted to put focus on his family and “life away from the field”.

He soon returned to college football, becoming Ohio State head coach two seasons later. During his time with the team, he had an 83-9 record. He won one National Championship as well as a Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. His time there sadly ended in controversy, before leaving in 2018 due to health reasons. He spent time as a television analyst before accepting the Jacksonville head coaching position in January 2021.

His Coaching Style & The Spread Offense

Meyer is seen as someone who is competitive, fiery and resolute. His “juice” is said to fire his teams up, with his infectious personality an integral part of his head coaching success. During his time as an analyst, he often went through a breakdown of offensive systems, with one component of his style of coaching being his Spread Offense.

This is a scheme which features four receivers, resulting in the opposition defense attempting to cover these players. This system allows the run game to excel, with RPO and read option plays often used under this style of offense. In a modern day NFL, we are seeing plenty of college schemes being brought into the league. Meyer will look to bring this style of coaching into the NFL that worked so well for him in college.

Can He Transform The Jaguars?

This is not going to be an easy task for Meyer but as he showed in Utah, he is capable of turning a team around. Jacksonville has the talent on their roster but have never seemed to fulfil their potential. One of their aforementioned trips to the AFC Championship was in the 2017 season. Their defense named ‘Sacksonville” played a big part in their journey, where they had a ten point lead and were nine minutes away from reaching the Super Bowl. They would end up losing 24-20 in agonizing fashion.

The components of Sacksonville would slowly fall apart. Jalen Ramsey, Malik Jackson and Yannick Ngakoue all left in 2019, with both A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell leaving in 2020. Quarterback Blake Bortles was seen as the player holding back the team, being released in March 2019 as the Jaguars looked to Nick Foles, who won Super Bowl 52 MVP just a year earlier. He was seen as the missing piece in the jigsaw but only lasted one season in a disappointing spell with the franchise.

Head coach Doug Marrone guided Jacksonville to the AFC Championship and a 10-6 record in his first full season as head coach of the franchise. Despite this, he couldn’t guide them to more than six wins in any of the three seasons that followed before being fired in January 2021. Issues off the field started to develop, with the players arrested on their annual trip to London in 2018 after an unpaid £50,000 drinks bill. Meyer won’t stand for any negative behaviour with his aforementioned fiery, competitive and infectious personality is likely to keep the players in check.

And then of course, there is Lawrence. One of the best college prospects in many years, he brings a lot of expectation with Jags fans pinning their hopes on him being the man to bring the good times to this franchise. He had not lost a regular season game since high school and reached the National Championship in two of his three seasons with the Clemson Tigers, winning one of those two.

He played 40 games in college and threw for 758 out of his 1,138 throws, giving him a 66.6 completion percentage. Across his time with Clemson, he threw for 90 touchdowns and 10,098 yards. Jacksonville have a real talent on their hands and they need to do everything they can to ensure he fulfils his tremendous potential.

Along with Lawrence, they have reunited their number one overall pick with his Clemson team-mate in running back Travis Etienne, who recorded 70 rushing touchdowns and 4,952 rushing yards during his four seasons in the ACC. He will join a running back room alongside James Robinson, who impressed highly in 2020 during his rookie year with 1,070 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. Etienne is said to also be working out as a receiver, which gives variety to the offensive side of the ball. Former Detroit Lions wideout Marvin Jones has joined the team via Free Agency to add depth to a wide receiver room already including DJ Chark Jr and Laviska Shenault Jr. Second-round pick Tyson Campbell gives depth to the Jaguars secondary, as will 65th overall pick Andre Cisco. 45th overall selection Walker Little will add protection to the Jags offensive line. Myles Jack is a survivor from the Sacksonville era and alongside fellow linebacker Josh Allen, they have the potential to cause problems for the opposition.

Jacksonville have a long rebuild ahead and fans should not expect an immediate transformation. Doubts remain over new Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz and whether he can get back to his 2017 form. The Tennessee Titans’ defense is seen as their Achilles heels and the Houston Texans are a mess. They will likely see their quarterback Deshaun Watson leave, which will result in years of struggles and mediocrity. This is not the toughest division in the NFL and the Jags will want to capitalise on this, but the improvement will likely be in either year 2, 3 or 4 of the Urban Meyer Jacksonville era.

What Is The Ceiling for Tim Tebow In Jacksonville?

How productive will Jaguars Tim Tebow be?

By: Eli Grabanski

When Tebow signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, sports media went crazy, and for good reason. He has not played for an NFL team since 2012. He’s slated to be 34 years old going into the 2021 NFL season. And he’s going to be making the switch from quarterback to tight end! Based on all this information, it’s a stretch that he even makes the Jaguars’ final roster.

But what if Tebow did make the roster? What would his ceiling look like?

This article will dive into what kind of stat line we could realistically see from Tim Tebow if he manages to make the team and has a role in the Jaguars offense in 2021.

Jacksonville Jaguars Depth Chart

The Jacksonville Jaguars have some depth at quarterback with Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew. They have depth at running back with James Robinson, Travis Etienne, and Carlos Hyde. They have depth at wide receiver with D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault, and Collin Johnson. But at the tight end position? Not so much. Right now on the Jaguars roster, they have Chris Manhertz, James O’Shaughnessy, Luke Farrell, and Tim Tebow at the tight end position which is less than inspiring. The lack of an established quality tight end option will improve Tebow’s chances of making the final roster and challenge for some play-time here and there.

The Urban Meyer Factor

If Urban Meyer weren’t the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tim Tebow would not be in the NFL. But Urban Meyer had success with Tebow at the college level over a decade ago and believed that Tebow could be useful to the Jaguars offense in 2021, so he decided to give him a chance.

Tim Tebow College Statistics
YearGamesCompletionsPass AttemptsCompletion %Passing YardsPassing TDsInterceptionsCarriesRushing YardsYPCRushing TDs
200614223366.7%35851894695.38
20071323435066.9%32863262108954.323
20081419229864.4%27463041766733.812
20091421331467.8%28952152179104.214
Tim Tebow College Statistics via Sports-Reference.com

We can’t expect anything close to the kind of production he put up in college at the NFL level, playing a new position, over a decade later. But looking at these college statistics, we can see that Tebow was utilized in a couple of ways during his time at Florida – mainly through the air with his passing and on the ground with his rushing ability. This versatility makes it seem likely that the tight end position will be just one of the places that Tim Tebow lines up…especially considering that Urban Meyer’s 219 game career as a college football head coach, his tight end room averaged just 2.13 receptions for 25.61 receiving yards and 0.26 receiving touchdowns per game and he has been well-known for using players all over the field – like Trey Burton, Percy Harvin, Jordan Reed, and Curtis Samuel. Meyer and the Jaguars may list Tebow as a tight end officially, but he will likely deploy Tebow in a Taysom Hill-like fashion if Tebow makes the final roster.

The Darrell Bevell Factor

The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator will be Darrell Bevell during the 2021 season. Bevell has taken a more traditional approach in utilizing his players and probably won’t be the one pushing for Tebow to play.

Take a look at the graph above. In just three seasons of Darrell Bevell’s 14-year career, he’s provided his officially listed wide receivers and tight ends with more than one carry per game. If Urban Meyer takes a more hands-off approach to the offense and leaves Darrell Bevell in charge, Bevell probably won’t give much rushing work to Tebow which would limit his overall upside as a player. The good news is that if Bevell believes that Tebow can successfully play the traditional tight end position, there is a little bit of receiving upside given Bevell sticks to his utilization of the position over the last five years.

Overall, Tim Tebow appears to be more of an Urban Meyer pet project than a player that Darrell Bevell would traditionally like to put on the field. But Meyer is the one calling the shots, and Tebow should get some play time here and there. If Tebow makes the roster, expect him to get about one target per game in the Meyer-Bevell offense.

The Conclusion

Tim Tebow may be listed as a tight end with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but given Urban Meyer’s love of ‘gadget’ players, it’s more likely that he is utilized a poor man’s Taysom Hill for the team. For reference, in 2019 when Taysom Hill was a gadget player the full season, he put up a stat line of 27 carries, 156 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 19 receptions (on 22 targets), 234 receiving yards, and six receiving touchdowns. Based on this, the absolute ceiling of Tim Tebow should be somewhere around…

Tim Tebow Jacksonville Jaguars Absolute Ceiling Projection
GamesReceptionsTargetsReceiving YardsReceiving TDsCarriesRushing YardsRushing TDsCompletionsPass AttemptsPassing YardsPassing Touchdowns
1715251203301402510801
Tim Tebow Ceiling Projection

Tim Tebow’s Role on the Jacksonville Jaguars

Will TE Tim Tebow be a contributor on the team?

By: Reese Nasser

Florida Gator legend and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has eyes on a return to the NFL. After a nearly six year long hiatus, the man himself has his eyes set on a comeback; as a Tight End. Well at least, he is being called a Tight End. Jacksonville Jaguars (and Tebow’s former coach at Florida) Urban Meyer has had discussions to bring his star pupil back on a one-year contract. Tebow, the 33-year old QB turned TE has never stopped playing professional sports. Tebow recently ended his four-year stretch of playing minor league baseball with the New York Mets minor league affiliates. That leads us to now. While it is still unknown how exactly the Jaguars will utilize Tebow, there are a few different possibilities. Let’s take a look.

Think Taysom Hill but Bigger

As many people heard the news of Tebow’s return, many people thought of New Orleans Saints Tight End/Quarterback, Taysom Hill. Hill has stuck around in the NFL, and recently signed a new contract with the Saints, because of his versatility. He fits in all over the offense and is able to make an impact all over the field. During the 2020 season, Hill had 121 pass attempts and 87 rushing attempts. He finished with 4 passing and 8 receiving touchdowns. Hill also recorded one receiving touchdown which brought his season total to 13. The Jaguars could be hoping to utilize Tebow this exact same way. An all-around gadget player that defenses would have to specifically scheme for. This could add a whole new layer to a Jaguars offense that now has Trevor Lawrence at the helm. It has been reconstructed and will look much different than what they sent out last season. 

Opening the Playbook

The arrival of Tebow would allow for the offense to go deep into the playbook and have some fun. While he has never caught a pass in either the NFL or college, he has clearly thrown the ball once or twice. This would cause defenses to always be prepared for a pass if he is one the field. Who knows, maybe we can even get something like this again.  

Tebow is an all-around athlete and should be utilized that way. Letting him sling the ball would be enough to make any football fan watch.

Guidance for Trevor Lawrence

The biggest opportunity in this potential signing comes from a leadership aspect. The opportunity to have a young quarterback like Lawrence able to have someone like Tebow in the locker room could prove to be very beneficial. Tebow may not be able to be the best player but his presence alone could change the entire locker room. Regardless of how you feel about him as an athlete, his attitude is like no other. A Jaguars team that has struggled for some time may welcome something like that. Urban Meyer may also welcome Tebow just because they are familiar. Who knows, Tebow may even be Meyer’s good luck charm

There is no guarantee that Tebow even makes the roster come this season but the possibility is there. Tebow’s willingness to put his head down and do the necessary work to be great is clear but will it be enough? The Jaguars already have five tight ends on the roster and the odds are slim to none that Tebow is better than any of them. Can he block a linebacker? Is he even able to catch a football? He just might be. So let the hometown kid try one more time.

3 NFL Teams that would be great fits for Tim Tebow

Will the former Heisman winner return to the NFL?

By: Noah Nichols

News broke the week of the 2021 NFL draft that Tim Tebow was attempting a return to the NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars were trying him out as a tight end. There has not been follow-up news regarding this tryout, but that could be due to a couple of things, like the 2021 NFL draft, taking priority. A few teams could afford to take a look at Tebow, not as a starting quarterback, but as a tight end, special teams player, or all-around weapon. Ultimately, Tebow still has a long shot of returning to the NFL, but there are a few teams that would be a good fit for him. That starts with the team that had him in for a tryout.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars could certainly use a tight end to help out their new young quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. Rookie quarterbacks, no matter their talent level, love two things. The first is a running back to rely on. The second is a tight end to throw to when no one else is open. Colloquially referred to as a quarterback “wubby.” If Tebow can make the transition to a tight end, he could certainly be that for Lawrence. Tebow has tight end speed, running a 4.7 40-yard dash, and he has good height at 6″3. He is 255 pounds, so he has the weight, and if you have seen any pictures of him, all the weight is muscle.

The only real question is, can he actually play tight end. Maybe. It would take him a while to learn the position, and he is 33 years old, so he is probably not going to be the next George Kittle if he does make the transition. Tebow has a chance, and could potentially also play the role of a big (very big) fullback, and special teams ace. The Jaguars are a great fit, because they need so much, and with those needs comes opportunities for Tebow to make the team.

New Orleans Saints

With Taysom Hill slotted to be in contention for the starting position at quarterback, Sean Peyton could use a similar athlete on his team. And while Hill is not guaranteed the starting position, he will be in contention for it. Sean Peyton said this when asked about who his starting quarterback will be. “Taysom [started] four games for us last year. And [we’ll] let those guys go to work, and I’m excited about it. I’m excited about those two. Now, there are a few things that may still be out there. But I see those two competing for this position.” And if Hill is the starting quarterback or even the backup, Peyton can ill afford to risk him too much.

That’s where Tebow comes in. Tebow is a similar athlete to Hill. Tebow is not as fast as Hill, who ran a 4.4 40-yard dash. compared to Tebow’s 4.7 40-yard dash. Tebow can still provide the talent that Peyton utilizes in Hill, and Tebow is a more experienced passer. Ultimately, Tebow would just be a weapon, could line up at tight end, play special teams, and throw a pass or two once a game to keep teams honest. However, he would have no chance to take the starting quarterback role from either Hill or Jameis Winston.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers may seem like a strange team to put on this list. However, like Sean Peyton, Kyle Shanahan is one of the greatest offensive minds in the NFL. And like Peyton, Shanahan likes to use players who can be a “swiss army knife.” Tebow can be that player for the 49ers. Tebow could be used as a large fullback that could go out for passes. Or, throw a pass or two on a trick play.

Tebow could even be handed the ball on occasion near the goal line, where he could use his 6″3. 255-pound frame to its potential. Tebow could potentially be what Shanahan wanted him to be. The 49ers are a good fit is because Shanahan does not have to peg Tebow into a certain position. Instead, Shanahan can decide to use Tebow in whatever way would best fit the team and the situation. Though Tebow has a long road to make a return to the NFL, and no chance to return as a quarterback, he has a chance. And these three teams are his best shots.

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