The moment Urban Meyer was hired to take over the Jacksonville Jaguars, sweeping changes began. Whether with the coaching staff, team structure, practice operations or scheme, Meyer has been given the directive to revamp, revitalize and renew the Jaguars.
As Meyer puts his fingerprints all over the club, these are the players most likely to benefit the most from the changes that will be wrought by Urban Meyer as the new head coach of the Jaguars.
K’Lavon Chaisson and Josh Allen
There isn’t much directly that Urban Meyer’s hiring will do for K’Lavon Chaisson and Josh Allen. Meyer primarily dictates minute coaching details and when he is involved directly in scheme, it’s on the offensive side of the ball. But where Chaisson and Allen will benefit is Meyer’s hiring of a new defensive coordinator (reportedly Joe Cullen).
Chaisson and Allen are defensive ends of a new modern defensive style who have been shoehorned into a throwback scheme for the past two seasons (one for Chaisson). A new defensive coordinator will ideally play them in more of a stand-up hybrid role, in which their skill sets are best used. Simply a new man in charge gives Chaisson and Allen a change; a change that can quickly become for the better.
The Jaguars and Urban Meyer have all but called Lawrence by name when discussing their future at quarterback. While Meyer will be learning the ropes of the NFL along with the Heisman finalist Clemson quarterback, there is a litany of examples of what Meyer can do to help a player like Lawrence.
The coach is a proven quarterback developer. And while he told reporters he won’t be running around the practice field “like a nut” any longer, it’s likely quarterback will be the position with which he spends the most time. The position is developed and crafted just as much in the meeting room as the practice field and that is where Meyer shines. He understands the game arguably better than just about any other coach in football. The breadth of knowledge he can impart to Lawrence will greatly help the rookie quarterback grow into his game.
Even if (when) the Jaguars draft Trevor Lawrence in April, it would behoove the club to hold on to Gardner Minshew II. Having an experienced starter as the backup—and one that’s still young at that—is a luxury few teams are afforded. Having Minshew while Lawrence adapts is the best kind of insurance. But if Lawrence is to be the future and franchise quarterback that Jaguars owner Shad Khan hopes he can be, then Minshew will understandably want to move on and, likely, attempt to be a starter himself again with another team. Training and learning from Urban Meyer in the interim—in much the same way Lawrence will benefit—could be the best thing for Minshew’s future prospects.
The now third-year safety has developed a personality as a hard hitter. He finished the 2020 season with 41 total tackles and none of them were applied with finesse. Wingard is even a bit of an enforcer, willing to fly in hot and make a hit that can be heard in the stands.
While Meyer may not be teaching specific defensive technique, his past defenses have always adapted this attitude of being tougher, stronger, nay meaner, than the man across from them. They’re never dirty (save one Brandon Spikes play that still defines a rivalry) but there’s a sense of no fear no matter the situation. It’s a facet of the team’s personality Meyer nourishes and encourages. And it’s one that will fit Andrew Wingard’s style of play to a tee.
Whether it’s Percy Harvin or Curtis Samuel, an Urban Meyer offense has always been at its best with a gadget player. The offensive-minded coach never seems to be befuddled by these type of talents, as some coaches can be. Instead, he knows exactly when, where and how to use them.
With that in mind, if any player should be the most excited about Urban Meyer’s hiring, it’s Laviska Shenault. The receiver/running back/wildcat quarterback was used in a variety of ways during his rookie 2020 season, to the tune of 619 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns with 58 receptions and 18 rushes. A hamstring injury kept him out of two and a half games. He wasn’t wasted and Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden spoke week in and week out about the effort to get Shenault the ball more. But Shenault only scratched the surface of what he can do with the Jaguars. If anyone can make the multi-tool offensive weapon a major player in the offense, it’s Urban Meyer.
Honorable Mention: DJ Chark
Competent and consistent quarterback play leading a competent and consistent offense is all DJ Chark needs…all of which Meyer is expected to bring.