Months after Urban Meyer first threw down the gauntlet to kicker Josh Lambo, the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach has turned to express confidence in Lambo after two missed kicks in Sunday's 23-13 loss to the Denver Broncos.
"I know the GM and personnel department’s job is to see what’s out there and all that, I’m just convinced this guy can come through it," Meyer said on Monday.
"I just, I see the way he works, I see the way he hits it. I’ve stuck with kickers before and it’s been great dividends, so as of now we’re going to stick with him.”
Lambo's status has become a topic of public scrutiny in Jacksonville after a poor preseason has turned into a nightmarish start to the season for the once-reliable Lambo.
Lambo is 0-for-3 to start the season, missing two field goals on Sunday and a 55-yarder in Week 1. Lambo missed from 48 and 52 yards on Sunday, sinking the Jaguars' stagnant offense and sapping away their few chances to get on the scoreboard. The Jaguars likely still lose against Denver even with Lambo's field goals, but the Jaguars had a chance to enter halftime with the lead had Lambo made his second attempt, which was the shorter of the two.
Meyer, who has a special teams coaching background, has defended Lambo time and time again since his misses began in the preseason, though, and Monday served as the greatest example yet. While the Jaguars could potentially work out a kicker before Sunday, Meyer said Lambo will remain the kicker for now, in large part because he believes in Lambo and his reputation.
“We looked at it. I talked to Josh today. In ’17, ’18, ’19, you go back, and I know that was recent history, but he’s one of the best in the NFL," Meyer said on Monday.
"The thing that I told him is that since I got here in February. since our staff got here, he’s as hard-working [of a] guy as any guy on the team. I have confidence he’s going to work through this."
And while Meyer has confidence in Lambo, that is not to say his struggles haven't severely impaired the Jaguars. Through two games, Lambo has had the worst start to the season of any kicker. Of the 23 kickers who have attempted at least three field goals this season, Lambo is the only kicker to not make any of them.
Lambo completed 88.9% of his career field goals and 90.8% of his career extra points before this season, including going 16 of 21 from 50 or more yards out and 33 of 43 from 40+ yards. Since signing with the Jaguars in 2017, he had been one of the NFL's best kickers, making 95% of his field goals in that span.
But that was then and this is now. And now, Meyer has to hope Lambo can quickly turn it around and start nailing field goals.
"Once again, if it’s a guy that doesn’t work hard, that doesn’t take his trade serious – I mean I’m telling you, that’s as serious as a kicker as I’ve ever been around," Meyer said. "[He’s] working and takes care of his body. I know he had an injury last year, but you look at ’17, ’18, ’19, the guy was phenomenal, and I still believe he will be.”