With Urban Meyer looking to return to coaching, the Chargers and Jaguars reportedly have his interest. Both should stay far away from him.
Reportedly, Urban Meyer has stated interest in coaching the Jacksonville Jaguars and LA Chargers. This rumor tends to concern the Jaguars a little more than the Chargers as Ian Rapaport reported that he is Jacksonville’s top target if they move on from Doug Marrone. If the Chargers move on from Anthony Lynn, this becomes a possibility.
Let me start out by saying this — I have great respect for what Meyer has done at the college level. He has built championship programs at Florida and Ohio State. Unlike some bad coordinators or weird head coaching candidates, it’s very understandable as to why franchises would want a man with Meyer’s achievements.
That’s where my interest ends though. Meyer’s college sensibilities and program building don’t work in the NFL. The Chargers have to work free agency to find talent in the margins. They have to crack the code of the NFL Draft to find young players.
If Meyer wants full control of personnel, basically making him coach/GM, it’s a massive red flag for me. Recruiting just isn’t the same as running an NFL front office.
Other than the fact that he clearly wants total control of the roster, his college sensibilities are also unlikely to work in the locker room. Communicating with 18-22-year-old unpaid athletes is completely different than communicating with paid pros.
We’ve seen several college coaches that have come into the league and be out of their depth in this regard. Chip Kelly, Jim Harbaugh, Bill O’Brien, Greg Schiano, etc. Coaches that come from the college ranks tend to lose the locker room in the NFL.
One of the few things Anthony Lynn actually does well is player relationships. He’s never come close to losing the locker room. Despite his on the field decisions, the players have always been behind him.
Meyer’s health issues are also a red flag. A brain cyst that causes stress in high-pressure situations doesn’t seem like a great fit for an NFL coaching job. Add in a heart attack from his Florida tenure and you start to see the toll the game has taken on his body.
Coaching in the NFL is more stressful than coaching in college. Losses are more common. You don’t have better players than everyone else. Injuries are harder to come back from when there is no four or five-star freshman as the next man up.
I also have my reservations about the in-game decisions of someone who has no NFL experience. Sure, Meyer will probably be more aggressive than Lynn, but it will take time for him to make an adjustment to the next level. Let me put it this way: I don’t trust a college coach facing Andy Reid twice a year.
The scandals that plagued his tenure at Ohio State and Florida are too much for me to ignore as well. Zach Smith was allowed to coach at OSU for way too long. At Florida, player misconduct metastasized the program under Meyer until it was no longer viable.
Maybe acquiring Meyer would boost ticket sales and get real tangible excitement around the Chargers, but I have another idea on how to do that. Win with Justin Herbert as the star quarterback.
Making moves for ticket sales and desperate pleas to win over Los Angeles is not how you run a franchise. If that were the case, a geriatric Tom Brady would be the quarterback and Herbert would be balling out for some other team. If Meyer struggles at all from the start, his appeal will spoil rather quickly. Los Angeles is a fickle sports city.
If the Chargers decide to move on from Lynn, it should be for a quality coordinator or someone with NFL coaching experience. His health, lack of NFL experience, desire for personnel control, and lack of accountability make the answer a steadfast no for me.