Urban Meyer on Jaguars’ slow start: ‘We will break this rock’

Team will stick with struggling kicker Josh Lambo, hope to turn the corner against Cardinals

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer watches a play on the video monitor during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton) (Stephen B. Morton, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Urban Meyer didn’t need to look around too far to see the results.

The Jaguars are getting there, slowly.

The team is off to an 0-2 start. There has been speculation that Meyer is in over his head in the NFL, and that he’s a candidate for college jobs.

It hasn’t been smooth, especially after Sunday’s 23-13 loss to the Broncos when Jacksonville’s offense mustered all of 189 yards and had to abandon its ground game again as it fell into an early deficit. Reliable kicker Josh Lambo has become a liability this season. Trevor Lawrence has looked very good at times. Then again, Lawrence has also looked like a rookie who’s just two games into his NFL career.

The frustration that the season is off to such a ragged start is everywhere, but Meyer sees a silver lining as the franchise losing streak reached 17 games with the 2-0 Cardinals coming to TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.

The Jaguars are making progress.

“Deep in my heart I thought we we’re going to come back and win that game. And we didn’t do it ...,” Meyer said. “So, I’m trying to find the positives, and they’re easy to find. The negatives are we lost two games.”

Meyer singled out the offensive line and said that they did enough to help the team win the game Sunday. That was after a rocky preseason and a tough start last week. The defense played better overall. Kick returner Jamal Agnew took a kickoff back 102 yards for a touchdown, the longest in franchise history and the first since 2016.

Meyer said being on the sideline during Agnew’s return was pure energy. He said that there’s no signs of players throwing in the towel, despite the slow start.

“A lot of guys were here last year. You start losing those games and this year you start losing games and I just want them to stick together because we’re gonna break this rock,” Meyer said. “We will break this rock. And when we do I want them enjoy it.”

Lambo’s shaky start isn’t reason for a change at the position, Meyer said. After hitting 42 straight field goals at TIAA Bank Field, Lambo missed two attempts against the Broncos. He’s 0 for 3 this season. Meyer said that he believes Lambo will turn things around for Jacksonville.

“If it’s a guy that doesn’t work hard or doesn’t take his trade serious, I mean, I’m telling you, that’s as serious as a kicker as I’ve ever been around,” Meyer said. “And working and takes care of his body and I know he had an injury last year, but you look at 17-18-19, the guy was phenomenal. And I still believe he will be.”

Injuries did flare up in the Broncos game. Tight end James O’Shaughnessy will miss several weeks with an ankle injury, so recent signee Jacob Hollister is likely set to make his Jaguars debut this week. Cornerback Tre Herndon will return to practice Wednesday after missing the first two games, although CJ Henderson’s status after a “mild groin issue” was still up in the air, Meyer said. And receiver Laviska Shenault will play this week after suffering a shoulder injury.


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.