Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer
Urban Meyer watches from the sidelines while coaching the Jaguars in their Nov. 21 loss to the 49ers.

Urban Meyer watches from the sidelines while coaching the Jaguars in their Nov. 21 loss to the 49ers.

In August, former Jaguars coach Urban Meyer invited an old friend to speak to his team during training camp.

That friend was Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson, who made an appearance on Fox’s pregame NFL show Sunday to shed some light on why the Meyer era in Jacksonville essentially ended before it started when he was fired after just 13 games by owner Shad Khan.

Johnson implied Meyer was undermined by his staff in a ”backstabbing environment.” However, Meyer hired everyone on his staff that included about 30. Still, it is not known how much input general manager Trent Baalke had with suggestions and decision making.

When controversial ex-Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle resigned as the Jaguars director of sports performance, the Jaguars sent out a prepared statement that included both Baalke and Meyer stating, ”Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved.”

On the Fox show, Johnson compared his situation when he first arrived in Dallas to coach Cowboys to Meyer’s situation in Jacksonville.

”Going to Jacksonville, just like when I went to Dallas, you knew you were gonna lose, you’re gonna have adversity,” Johnson said. “The difference is, in Dallas, I had my entire coaching staff from college. I had my administrative assistant, I had my P.R. director, I had my trainer. We were all on the same page when we had adversity. He didn’t have that in Jacksonville. There was a lot of backstabbing, one thing or the other, because he didn’t have his people.”

Who’s next: Doug Pederson, Byron Leftwich could emerge as potential candidates to replace Urban Meyer

Mentoring: Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson attends Jaguars practice

Long climb ahead: Jaguars not experiencing surge in COVID-19 cases like most teams across NFL

Johnson also went on the Dan Patrick radio show last week to reiterate that Meyer had assistants from all over this season in Jacksonville. But Johnson said many of the assistants that joined him to coach the Cowboys to Dallas had worked with him since 1977 when he was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh under head coach Jackie Sherrill.

”You know there was never a chink in the armor,” Johnson said. ”If some disgruntled veteran might say, ‘Hey, we don’t need to do it this way. Well, the entire staff would say hey, wait a minute, we’re going to do it the way Jimmy wants to do it.”

[embedded content]

Johnson won a national championship at the University of Miami in 1987 and went 52-9 in five seasons.

In 1989, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hired Johnson to become his head coach. Longtime friends and former Arkansas teammates Jones and Johnson enjoyed success together. The Cowboys won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1992 and 1993 before Johnson and Jones mutually agreed to part ways in 1994.

Meyer said in August that he sought out Johnson frequently for advice on making the jump to the NFL and that he did a lot of studying on the NFL before Khan hired him in January.

But over the course of the season, Meyer appeared to be ill-prepared, not knowing some of his own players’ first names and saying the wrong names of key players the Jaguars were going to face in the same week.

Franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence admitted there was too much drama going on and he made a public plea that James Robinson needs to be on the field after he benched for 20 plays after a fumble 37-7 loss to Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 5.

Several leaks appeared within his staff that disclosed information on how Meyer treated players and his assistants.

An NFL Network report by Tom Pelissero, citing sources, indicated that tensions had reached the boiling-over-point with Meyer having multiple run-ins with players and coaches. The report included Meyer proclaiming himself a winner and his assistants are losers during a staff meeting, challenging each coach individually to explain when they’ve won and defend their resumes.

When Meyer was pressed about the leaks coming out of organization after the Jaguars’ 20-0 loss to the Titans, he said, ”if there’s a source, then that source is unemployed. I mean, within seconds.”

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jimmy Johnson: Urban Meyer was undone by a lot of ‘backstabbing’