The Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking for a new head coach after the team fired Urban Meyer just 13 games into his NFL tenure. Tasked with changing the culture in Jacksonville, Meyer made it worse in 11 months on the job.
The Jaguars front office already was a mess prior to the outside-the-box hire of Meyer, yet the same personnel remains in place after Meyer was fired. The Jaguars are 39-102 since the start of the 2013 season, a sign major changes are needed around the franchise.
Jacksonville sits tied with the second-worst record in the NFL at 2-11, with a franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence who has immensely struggled (tied for the NFL lead with 14 interceptions). The Jaguars have scored the second-fewest points in the league and totaled 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's a lot of work that needs to be done in Jacksonville. The Jaguars' job will still be an attractive one with Lawrence as the team's franchise quarterback and a roster with talented young players in place. The turnaround may take a year or two, but the Jaguars could emerge into a contender with the right coach.
Who's the right fit for Jacksonville? Below are five candidates the Jaguars should seriously consider hiring, along with their SportsLine odds to become the next head coach:
1. Doug Pederson (+300)
Pederson is certainly 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 turned the Eagles around in a hurry, becoming one of just 11 head coaches to win the Super Bowl in his first two seasons as a head coach. He accomplished this with a young quarterback in Carson Wentz, helping develop him into a MVP candidate in just his second season in the league before an ACL and MCL injury changed the fortunes of his young quarterback.
Having a great reputation with his players, Pederson may be the coach Jacksonville needs to change the culture around. He'll also get to work with a young quarterback again with Lawrence, with the opportunity to develop him into one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Pederson and the Jaguars seem like an ideal fit after the Meyer fallout.
2. Eric Bieniemy (+500)
Bieniemy has been the best head coaching candidate over the past two years, yet can't seem to find a job. Could the Jaguars finally give him the opportunity to become a head coach?
Bieniemy's resume 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, along with the most yards per game (403.1). Kansas City also has the best record in the NFL during Bieniemy's run, going 47-14 with three conference championship game appearances and a Super Bowl title in the 2019 season.
As if Bieniemy needed any more validity to become a head coach, he comes from the same tree of 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 install a foundation with a talented quarterback, making Jacksonville a strong candidate for him to enter the program and change the culture.
3. Josh McDaniels (+500)
McDaniels -- who almost landed the Eagles' job last year -- is a hot commodity after the development of Mac Jones this year. Jones is far and away the best of the rookie quarterbacks, completing over 70% of his passes for 2,869 yards with 16 touchdowns to 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 best record in the AFC thanks in part of Jones. New England is 10th in the league in points scored and second in the NFL in drives ending in an offensive score -- with a rookie quarterback. McDaniels is an integral part of the braintrust that has developed Jones to this point.
McDaniels has served two stints as the Patriots offensive coordinator, the first from 2006 to 2008 when New England was first in points per game (28.8) and second in the NFL in total yards per game (370.8). This was with Matt Cassel starting 15 games in 2008. In McDaniels' second stint (starting in 2012), the Patriots are first in the past 10 seasons in points per game (27.8) and second in yards per game (375.9).
The 45-year-old McDaniels served as a head coach in the NFL before. He spent two seasons in charge of the Denver Broncos in 2009 and 2010, going 11-17 before being fired in Week 13 of his second season. A second opportunity in Jacksonville may be what McDaniels -- and the Jaguars -- need.
4. Brian Daboll (+700)
Daboll's seat has cooled off a bit with the Buffalo Bills struggling this season, yet Josh Allen is still a top-five quarterback in the NFL. 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 in quarterback rating (102.1).
The 45-year-old Daboll has modernized his offense with the ever-evolving college game, making the Bills difficult to scheme against week-to-week. Having a mobile quarterback like Allen has 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 did not interview him last year when they were 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 the respect of a lot of players he had coached over the years. While Caldwell may be 66, his approach to running a program may be exactly what the Jaguars need to alter the direction of the franchise.
Caldwell, who last served as the assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2019, spent seven seasons as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions. He compiled a 62-50 record in his head coaching career with three 10-win seasons -- including leading the Colts to an appearance in Super Bowl XLIV. Caldwell went 26-22 from 2009 to 2011 with the Colts and 24-8 in the two years he had Peyton Manning as 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 the offensive coordinator during which he guided Joe Flacco to 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in the 2012 postseason, 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 postseasons -- a significant accomplishment since Detroit only had three winning seasons since 1997 and only one since 2000. He was fired at the conclusion of the 2017 season after finishing 9-7 and went 18-14 in his final two seasons with the Lions. Detroit is just 15-42-1 since firing Caldwell.
The Jaguars would be wise to give Caldwell a call, as he can help Lawrence grow while 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.