The Urban Meyer era in Jacksonville began on Friday, as the legendary college football coach was formally introduced as the new head coach of the Jaguars. Meyer and Jags owner Shad Khan fielded tough questions that dealt with Meyer's lack of experience in the NFL, his health and the recent failures of the Jaguars franchise as a whole. There is more excitement than doubt surrounding this decision, however, and Meyer said that not only is this the right time for him to return to coaching, but it's also the right place.
Despite all of the recent losing and the need to totally reset the culture, there are some attractive facets about the gig in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have a total of 11 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, they are projected to have the most cap space in the NFL and then of course they have the No. 1 overall pick. Meyer was asked how important having the top pick in the draft this year was and how it played into his decision making when picking the Jaguars.
"Huge," Meyer responded.
Jacksonville is expected to take former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick, and Meyer did appear to admit that the Jags will be taking a quarterback with that top selection. He also said who he chooses to start under center in 2021 will be one of the most important decisions of his life.
"You see Trevor, you see Justin (Fields), you see Zach (Wilson). As Shad said, this is a monumental moment for this franchise, and we've seen some franchises explode and we've seen others fail," said Meyer. "I've said this many times throughout my career, when the NFL says it's a quarterback league, I would say, 'So is college, so is high school, so is Pop Warner. It's a quarterback sport.' So whoever takes that snap, we have got to be right on.
"Who we pick at that quarterback spot ... that's going to be one of the most important decisions I make in my lifetime, along with the partnership of our owner and our general manager. And the ones that are out there -- I like to use the term elite, I see some elite quarterbacks out there right now."
Meyer's illustrious coaching career has been marred by health issues. He left both the University of Florida and Ohio State citing his health issues -- in 2018 he retired from Ohio State citing health concerns including headaches related to a congenital arachnoid cyst -- but has seemingly always failed to quell the underlying competitive fire that has continued to bring him back to the sideline. On Friday, Meyer was asked about his health and why he was confident at the age of 56 that it won't be an issue this time around.
"I'm older, it's something I'm going to be very conscientious of, it's something I'm going to watch very closely," said Meyer. "I will be the head coach but I'm going to hire great coaches that are going to be expected to do their jobs. I'm not going to be running around like a nut on the practice field. Those days are gone. I know what it's supposed to look like and I'm going to be demanding of everyone, but it's something I'm going to watch very closely."
Meyer ended his press conference by saying that he wants to bring back pride to the Jaguars and wants people to feel something when they see their logo. With a franchise that has experienced much turnover when it comes to its roster and coaching staff, Meyer understands that he's going to have to work to get those fans back.
"When they see that Jaguar emblem, I want there to be a sense of pride," Meyer said. "I can see a fast team, I see people who care deeply about that organization and the two things I always talk about that are a part of inspiration are love and ownership. I want you to own it, and if you don't want to do that, then you really can't be here. Own that emblem."