Never say never, but it appears Urban Meyer will likely miss out on one of the apparent top candidates for the Jacksonville Jaguars' defensive coordinator position.
Multiple reports Tuesday stated the Los Angeles Rams have narrowed down their search for a defensive coordinator to Raheem Morris, the former Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator and interim head coach who was scheduled to interview with Meyer for the same position in Jacksonville. Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport were the first to report on Morris' connection to Los Angeles.
Morris was actually set to interview with Meyer today, but Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported that Morris canceled a trip to Florida to meet with the Jaguars and Meyer. This would indicate that Morris is unlikely to be Jacksonville's defensive coordinator and that Meyer will have to move onto his next option.
The Jaguars are also reportedly set to meet with Baltimore Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen. Meyer has yet to officially name any staff additions, though numerous positional coach and support staff names have been floated as possible or even likely hires.
Meyer also reportedly has made additions to his support-staff and with another defensive coach. Brett McMurphy of Stadium, said Friday that former Texas, Lousiville, and USF head coach Charlie Strong will join the staff likely as a linebackers coach, while Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel said Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator Chris Ash is expected to be a member of the staff as a position coach. Meanwhile, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle reported that Texans defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver is set to interview for a spot on Meyer's staff.
It was also reported that Ryan Stamper and Fernando Lovo would join Meyer in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville's defense finished 31st in yards per game and points per game allowed, first downs allowed, and defensive DVOA, so any hire Meyer makes it defensive coordinator will likely be one of the most important decisions of his entire tenure.
Meyer has historically delegated his offense and defense to his assistant coaches, but with Morris likely heading to Los Angeles options have dwindled. Meyer has never coached in the NFL so an experienced defensive coordinator makes sense, but other experienced coordinators like Dan Quinn have already been hired elsewhere.
"I’ve got to get a great staff, not a good staff, a great staff. And when people are recommended, I’ve had a multitude of people calling and my comment is to save the recommendation unless you feel that person is elite in all areas," Meyer said. "Because that’s what Jacksonville deserves and that’s what we’re going to have on our staff. But the players and putting together a team that—they want to win, I know that."
"This is an inflection point for the Jaguars," Jaguars owner Shad Khan said Friday. "A lot of things happened that put us in position to win and the head coach is the most important thing. Moving forward, my whole aspect (of roster control) is that we need to be a coach-centric team and organization. The head coach leads with the kind of players he wants and the team he needs to be.