Urban Meyer’s first year in Jacksonville has been filled with controversy on and off the field.
After falling to 0-5 for the season, the Jaguars are owners of a 20-game losing streak, the longest in the NFL since the Buccaneers in 1977. They were in striking distance of potentially ending their streak Sunday against the Titans, until a questionable play call by Meyer in the fourth quarter.
With his team down by 12 and facing a fourth-and-goal from inside the Tennessee 1, Meyer called for handoff to Carlos Hyde instead of a sneak by highly touted rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Hyde was tackled for a 3-yard loss.
Meyer drew heavy criticism for the play call after Jacksonville’s 37-19 loss. He was asked after the game why he didn’t trust Lawrence in that situation.
“He’s not quite comfortable with that yet,” Meyer said.
It’s perhaps the most honest Meyer has been in assessing where his team and its star stand and what their current strengths and weaknesses are.
Lawrence didn’t quite agree with Meyer’s reasoning, however.
“No, I feel comfortable,” he said.
Lawrence operated mostly out of the shotgun at Clemson and thus didn’t run many sneaks. Still, he was a plus runner for Dabo Swinney, rushing for 943 yards and 18 touchdowns in three seasons with the Tigers.
In Jacksonville, he has proved to be more than competent with his legs. He finished Sunday’s game with four carries for 28 yards and a touchdown, giving him 21 carries, 110 yards and two rushing scores for the season.
Regardless of who’s telling the truth or whether it’s simply a matter of degree, the coach and his star young quarterback being vocally in opposition doesn’t bode well for Meyer, who has already drawn more criticism than most through the first five weeks.
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