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Urban Meyer Fired: Potential Candidates to Replace Meyer

The Jaguars will have Trevor Lawrence and a litany of cap space in the offseason. Who could replace Meyer?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Urban Meyer Era in Jacksonville is over after 13 games, and the Jaguars are once again looking for a head coach to lead the organization into what is hopefully stability at the least. While it’s unknown if GM Trent Baalke will retain his job after the season, he has the important job of replacing what might be the worst head coach in Jaguars history, and possibly the worst head coach in NFL history.

On the bright side, if the Jaguars replace the GM along with Meyer, both will have almost the same exact situation that Meyer and Baalke entered into last year. The Jaguars will have the most cap space in the NFL again this off-season, and now have a big asset to lure coaches to Jacksonville: QB Trevor Lawrence. If coaches believe that Lawrence is who people think he is, then the Jaguars will have suitors lining up to get a chance to coach him.

Here are some of the top candidates to replace Urban Meyer as Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars:

Doug Pederson

Pederson is the former Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and won a Super Bowl with the Eagles in 2017, and was the Offensive Coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013-2015. As Head Coach, the Eagles were 17th in EPA/play, and 18th in EPA/play in the passing game. In addition, Pederson has experience working with a young QB in Carson Wentz, however it can be argued that most of the credit for Wentz should go to Wentz’s new coach and former Eagles OC Frank Reich. Pederson has said he’s looking for another opportunity, and could provide the Jaguars with the stability that the franchise and Lawrence needs.

Jim Caldwell

Caldwell is another popular name surrounding the Jaguars, as the former Lions and Colts Head Coach has been out of the league since 2017. Caldwell has gone 62-50 as a head coach, and has only had two losing seasons as a head man. Caldwell has experience working with talented QBs, having coached Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, and was the interim OC and QBs Coach for Joe Flacco when the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012. Caldwell’s Lions teams were 14th in EPA/play from 2014-2017, and the Colts were 11th in DVOA from 2009-2011 with Caldwell as the head coach. Just like Pederson, Caldwell could provide stability for the Jaguars as someone with head coaching experience and has the support of many around NFL media.

Byron Leftwich

This is easily the most popular name surrounding the Jaguars HC search, as Leftwich played QB for the Jaguars from 2003-2006, and is currently the Offensive Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Leftwich calling plays in 2020 and Bucs Head Coach Bruce Arians at the helm, the Bucs were third in Offensive DVOA and one of five teams in the top ten of both rushing and passing DVOA. Tampa wasn’t his only stint in calling plays however. Leftwich called plays in Arizona in 2018 after Mike McCoy was fired. Leftwich was the QBs coach at the time. The knock against Leftwich is the lack of head coaching experience, and that Tampa Bay gets very pass-heavy at times, which wouldn’t mesh with the Jaguars best offensive player being RB James Robinson. While the Bucs have been very pass-heavy(third in early down pass frequency since 2020), they’ve been extremely efficient while doing so(5th in early down dropback EPA/play). In addition, Tampa Bay is eighth in DVOA on first down passes and first on second down passes, so while it may draw the ire of some fans, it certainly works. Leftwich can get his first head coaching opportunity in the place where he got his first QB opportunity, while mentoring Trevor Lawrence as well.

Eric Bieniemy

His name is going to pop up in every NFL HC opening until he gets a job, but I do think Eric Bieniemy would be a fine head coach in Jacksonville. We all know his exploits in Kansas City: RBs coach from 2013-2017, OC from 2017 to present day. Since 2017, offenses coordinated by Bieniemy have been first in EPA/play, and by a wide margin, while also being the most efficient and explosive passing offense the NFL has ever seen. You can try and chalk it up to Andy Reid’s offensive genius, which some of the credit goes to, but Bieniemy has just as much of a hand in not only the offense, but the development of Patrick Mahomes. Bringing Bieniemy to Jacksonville would bring a potential Andy Reid style offense while also giving Trevor Lawrence an offensive mind as HC. It’s worth noting that Adam Schefter reported that Bieniemy was interviewed by Jacksonville last year, and Bieniemy could refuse to interview there again.

Kellen Moore

This is a really popular name among NFL circles, as Moore could be the next young innovative offensive mind to get a head coaching gig. Since becoming the Cowboys offensive coordinator in 2019, the Cowboys have been 14th in offensive EPA/play, and 2020 they lost QB Dak Prescott for most of the year to a fractured ankle. Where Jaguars fans should get excited about Moore is in how balanced his offense is, while retaining explosiveness. This year Dallas is 10th in early down passing frequency, but is also efficient running the ball on early downs, ranking sixth in EPA/play in that metric. Obviously, Moore has no head coaching experience, but with how dynamic and balanced his offenses are, he could be worth a shot in Jacksonville.

Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels is going to be mentioned in any head coaching search until the end of time, and for good reason. His offenses with the Patriots are not only good, they’re malleable. They can change personnel and the type of offense they run within the season, as they did in 2020 with different QBs under center, and in 2021 as they return to prominence in the NFL. McDaniels has experience working with talented QBs like Tom Brady, and is from the fabled “Belichick Tree.” However, his last head coaching stint did not go well. Scandals from alleged trade offers to videotaping controversies marred his time as Head Coach of the Broncos, and he was fired in 2010. Not to mention McDaniels almost taking the Colts job in 2018 but deciding to stay in New England. If the Jaguars want an experienced mind who’s worked with some of the best at the QB position, then McDaniels is your guy.

Who would Jags fans want to see as Head Coach?