Urban Meyer's disastrous stint as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars has mercifully come to an end after 13 games. As much fun as it is to dunk on Meyer for this complete and utter failure, there is now a football team with an opening at head coach.
It's an attractive one, too, for numerous reasons. The biggest draw, of course, is Trevor Lawrence, who is still brimming with untapped potential even after his mess of a rookie season. It is also helpful that being the guy to come after Urban Meyer comes with the lowest expectations of any potential job opening. He set an awfully, awfully low bar, after all.
So who could take the reins of the franchise after Shad Khan made a mess of it yet again? Here are four possible candidates.
Khan's two biggest hires to this point-- Meyer and Tom Coughlin-- were made because the coaches in question had impressive resumes. Khan owns several sports franchises and his son runs AEW. He knows shiny names and big brand recognition draws fans to the stands. So how about a big-name head coach with a Super Bowl resume and a lot of good years left on the clock who is currently unemployed? Enter Doug Pederson, who would be a home-run hire for the Jaguars. Pederson's time with the Eagles ended poorly, mostly due to a deteriorating relationship with the owner and GM, but he is still the man who brought a title to Philadelphia with a backup quarterback. He's a quality offensive coach and knows how to make smart hires around him. The best part about Pederson is that he is a very unremarkable personality who won't make the sheer amount of headlines Urban made in four years at the helm, much less four months. A good, veteran coach with a championship resume. They can't do much better.
There is, of course, the chance Khan has finally learned his lesson about prioritizing brand over anything else and wants to try to make a smart, long-term football hire instead. Leftwich would actually be the best of both worlds in that regard. He is a Jacksonville hero, one of the best quarterbacks to suit up in the young franchise's history, and a beloved figure in the community. Even better, he's a rising star in the coaching ranks. Leftwich has been helping orchestrate a Tom Brady-led offense in Tampa Bay for the last year and a half, some of the best experience any offensive coordinator will ever get. And Leftwich is only 41 years-old. If the Jags hire him and he works out, they have a QB-HC tandem for a long time if they want it.
Okay, so yes, Brady did just get fired by the Carolina Panthers. But from everything we've seen out of that outfit this year, smart money is on the problems being institutional rather than lying entirely with Brady. He was one of the hottest coaching candidates in the league at this time two years ago and his stock shouldn't completely tank because he couldn't make it work with Matt Rhule, who is on the record stating that a winning offense runs the ball 25-30 times a game. Brady knows what Lawrence can do after a few years coaching against him at the college. Hiring a coach who you know will, if anything, do his damndest to get the most out of the franchise QB is a step in the right direction.
The cries have been loud for Bieniemy to get a shot at a head-coaching gig over the last few years. Those calls have been unanswered thus far due to reasons beyond the comprehension of those outside NFL buildings. Maybe this is his shot. Bieniemy's stock is actually the lowest it's been in several years after the Chiefs' offense seriously stumbled for the first time since Alex Smith was under center, but his body of work speaks for itself. The man knows how to design an offense for a good quarterback. As stated numerous times above, maximizing Lawrence's potential should be priority one, two, and three in Jacksonville for the foreseeable future. Bieniemy's resume suggests he could do that better than anybody. He is also arguably the riskiest hire on this list, though, because we haven't seen him coach a quarterback not named Patrick Mahomes or designed an offense outside the purview of Andy Reid. The same could be said about Leftwich with Bruce Arians and Brady, but at least Leftwich has a history in the area. Nevertheless, Bieniemy has been on a head coaching track for a few years with good reason.