Time to heal: Jaguars still recovering from Urban Meyer era

May 23, 2022, 2:02 AM | Updated: 2:05 pm

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson, center, directs an NFL football practice, Monday, Ma...

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson, center, directs an NFL football practice, Monday, May 23, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. At right is quarterback Trevor Lawrence. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Marvin Jones had a smile on his face and a pep in his step as the Jacksonville Jaguars went through their first organized team activity Monday.

The veteran receiver may have been more relieved than anyone in the building for a fresh start. A new head coach. A mostly new staff. A new outlook all around, really.

“When you like coming to work, good things happen,” Jones told The Associated Press following practice. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

The Jaguars are “healing” from one of the most tumultuous coaching tenures in NFL history. The Urban Meyer experiment lasted 11 months and might end up including as many lawsuits as wins (two). Meyer screamed at assistants, had run-ins with players and seemed to alienate nearly everyone around him while his college approach proved downright laughable in a locker room filled with grown men and millionaires.

“I do believe there has to be some kind of healing with the situation and everything that transpired last year because it’s just there’s a lack of trust that was broken,” new Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said. “For me, it’s about gaining the trust back and they have to see it through me. They have to see the transparency, the honesty.”

Meyer’s time in Jacksonville was filled with lies. He told owner Shad Khan and everyone else he spent a year studying the league and then barely knew NFL stars, let alone his own players. He so often confused names that the team’s public relations staff started keeping a roster of the opposing team atop every speaking podium.

When a video was released in October showing Meyer on camera at an Ohio bar with a woman dancing near his lap, he initially told staffers the woman and others were merely trying to coax him onto the dance floor. A second video seemed to prove otherwise, and Meyer ended up making two public apologies.

There were plenty of other absurd moments during Meyer’s tenure: the coach insisted repeatedly that 2021 No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew were vying for the starting quarterback job despite there being no chance Lawrence would open the season as a backup; Meyer blamed running backs coach Bernie Parmelee for benching starter James Robinson when, in fact, it was Meyer who demanded that Robinson be taken out of a game following a fumble; Meyer also denied getting into a heated argument with Jones that prompted the player to leave practice.

“You have to flush it,” Jones said. “Not just in football, but in any business. You just flush it and you keep going as usual and be a professional. I think everybody has done that. Everybody has taken their time off to do whatever they needed to do mentally, and I think we’re on a good track.”

Lawrence called Pederson’s regime “a more stable environment” and said the distractions they endured last year should help moving forward.

“I think the biggest thing in a team is just trusting each other,” Lawrence said. “Trusting in the guys in the locker room but also the staff. That’s something – clearly – we didn’t have a lot of last year. I think our locker room did a great job last year of staying together.

“It’s cool to see (Pederson) make that a priority, and he knows and understands that that is definitely something that we have to make sure we have in this building.”

Pederson, who was hired in early February after a lengthy coaching search, has no specific plans for helping the team recover from Meyer’s debacle other than being open and honest about everything and trying to promote better communication between players and coaches. He has addressed the “need to heal” in team meetings and feels as if “guys have really embraced it and are doing well.”

“It can’t get worse than what we’ve been through here,” pass rusher Josh Allen said. “As much as he wants to heal us, we still live with that.”

Allen and some teammates were so rattled by what transpired last season that they left Jacksonville for months to regroup. They have been reenergized since returning to Peterson’s more authentic approach, one that could pay dividends for a franchise that has four wins in the past two seasons.

“You can see right off the bat what type of person he is,” Jones said. “We’re all grown; you can judge character quickly in this league. I think that’s what we have. It’s straightforward. These guys are treating everybody like how they’re supposed to be treated, like professionals, and I think that resonates within the whole building. This is definitely a great start.”


More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Time to heal: Jaguars still recovering from Urban Meyer era