Urban Meyer sacked: Doug Pederson, Josh McDaniels top contenders to become Jaguars’ next head coach
The Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking for a new head coach after the team sacked Urban Meyer just 13 games away from his NFL tenure. Responsible for changing the culture in Jacksonville, Meyer made matters worse in 11 months on the job.
The Jaguars’ front office was already a mess before Meyer’s hiring off the beaten track, but the same staff remain in place after Meyer’s dismissal. The Jaguars are 39-102 since the start of the 2013 season, a sign that major changes are needed around the franchise.
Jacksonville is tied for the second-worst NFL record at 2-11, with a franchise quarterback to Trevor Lawrence who struggled tremendously (tied for the NFL lead with 14 interceptions). The Jaguars scored the second fewest points in the league and the third fewest yards. The defense isn’t much better, allowing the sixth most points and forcing the fewest turnovers in the league.
The bottom line is that there is a lot of work to be done in Jacksonville. The Jaguars’ job will always be attractive with Lawrence as the team’s franchise quarterback and a roster of talented young players in place. The turnaround may take a year or two, but the Jaguars could become a contender with the right coach.
Who is the right fit for Jacksonville? Below are five candidates the Jaguars should seriously consider hiring, along with their SportsLine chances of becoming the next head coach:
1. Doug Pederson (+300)
Pederson is arguably the most accomplished head coach on this list. The Super Bowl-winning head coach went 42-37-1 in his five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, winning two NFC East titles and taking the franchise to three consecutive playoff appearances.
Pederson quickly transformed the Eagles, becoming one of 11 head coaches to win the Super Bowl in his first two seasons as a head coach. He accomplished this with a young quarterback at Carson Wentz, helping him become an MVP candidate in his second season in the league before an ACL and MCL injury changed his young quarterback’s fortunes. .
Having a great reputation with his players, Pederson is perhaps the coach Jacksonville needs to change the culture. He will also work again with a young quarterback with Lawrence, with the opportunity to develop him to become one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Pederson and the Jaguars seem like an ideal fit after the Meyer fallout.
2. Eric BieniÃ©my (+500)
Bieniemy has been the top head coach candidate for the past two years, but can’t seem to find a job. Could the Jaguars finally give him the opportunity to become a head coach?
Bieniemy’s CV speaks for itself. The Chiefs have scored the most points per game in the NFL (30.2) since Bieniemy became the offensive coordinator in 2018, as well as the most yards per game (403.1). Kansas City also has the best NFL record in Bieniemy’s run, going 47-14 with three conference championship appearances and a Super Bowl title in the 2019 season.
As if Bieniemy needed more validity to become a head coach, he comes from the same tree as Andy Reid – who produced John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, Sean McDermott and countless other head coaches in the league. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes also has the most passing yards, passing touchdowns and the second-highest passer rating since the start of the 2018 season.
Bieniemy needs an opportunity to build a foundation with a talented quarterback, making Jacksonville a strong candidate to get on the program and change the culture.
3. Josh McDaniels (+500)
McDaniels – who nearly landed the Eagles job last year – is a prized commodity after Mac Jones’ development this year. Jones is by far the best of the rookie quarterbacks, completing over 70% of his passes for 2,869 yards with 16 touchdowns on eight interceptions (97.0 passer rating). Jones can become the first rookie quarterback in league history to complete 70% of his passes (minimum 300 attempts).
The Patriots are 9-4 and tied for the AFC’s best record thanks in part to Jones. New England are 10th in the league in points scored and second in the NFL for practices ending in an offensive scoreline – with a rookie quarterback. McDaniels is an integral part of the braintrust that has developed Jones so far.
McDaniels held two positions as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, the first from 2006-2008, when New England was first in points per game (28.8) and second in the NFL for total yards per game ( 370.8). It was with Matt Cassel who started 15 games in 2008. In McDaniels’ second stint (from 2012), the Patriots are first in the last 10 seasons in points per game (27.8) and second in yards. per game (375.9).
McDaniels, 45, was once an NFL head coach. He spent two seasons at the helm of the Denver Broncos in 2009 and 2010, going 11-17 before being fired in Week 13 of his second season. McDaniels – and the Jaguars – may need a second chance in Jacksonville.
4. Brian Daboll (+700)
Daboll’s seat has cooled off a bit with the Buffalo Bills struggling this season, but Josh Allen is still one of the NFL’s top five quarterbacks. Over the past two seasons, Allen is sixth in the league in completion percentage (67.64%), fourth in passing yards (8,068), fourth in passing touchdowns (65) and sixth. for the quarterback odds (102.1).
Daboll, 45, has modernized his offense with the ever-changing college game, making the Bills difficult to face week after week. Having a mobile quarterback like Allen also helped Daboll, and he would encounter the same situation with Lawrence.
If the goal is to develop Lawrence around an innovative coach, Daboll should be on Jacksonville’s radar. The Jaguars didn’t interview him last year when looking for a head coach – and shouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
5. Jim Caldwell (+1000)
Caldwell deserves another opportunity as an NFL head coach, especially after having had the respect of many of the players he has coached over the years. Although Caldwell may be 66, his approach to running a program may be just what the Jaguars need to change the direction of the franchise.
Caldwell, who last served as assistant head coach / quarterbacks coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2019, spent seven seasons as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions. He compiled a 62-50 record during his head coaching career with three 10-game seasons, including leading the Colts to a Super Bowl XLIV appearance. Caldwell went 26-22 from 2009-2011 with the Colts and 24-8 in the two years he had Peyton Manning as a quarterback. (Manning missed all of 2011 with a neck injury.)
Caldwell was hired by the Lions in 2014 after two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. His time there included a stint as offensive coordinator in which he guided Joe Flacco to 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in the 2012 playoffs, which helped Baltimore win Super Bowl XLVII.
Caldwell finished 36-28 in four seasons with Detroit, racking up three winning seasons and taking the franchise to two playoffs – a significant accomplishment as Detroit has only had three winning seasons since 1997 and only one since 2000. He was fired. at the end of the 2017 season after finishing 9-7 and going 18-14 in his last two seasons with the Lions. Detroit is just 15-42-1 since Caldwell’s sacking.
The Jaguars would be wise to call Caldwell as he can help Lawrence grow while also building an experienced staff around him to maximize the team’s talent. Caldwell has the credibility that can put the Jaguars back on the map, which is exactly what the organization needs.