JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The team that the Jaguars have studied as a blueprint for success is paying a visit on Sunday.
Can Urban Meyer and Jacksonville (1-6) get back on track after a humbling West Coast loss, and do it against a team that they’re trying to model themselves after?
“I just think how they built it is really intriguing to all of us. How did they build that team?,” Meyer said on Wednesday. “And Buffalo’s one of, in my mind, one of the best builds that in recent history.”
The Bills (5-2) are the modern NFL example of how to construct a roster.
Draft well. Hold on to those players. Fill in the blanks through free agency. Make a bold trade or two. Those are all particular things that the Jaguars haven’t done well under previous regimes.
Meyer said that he and general manager Trent Baalke have studied the Bills and how they made such a pivot after years of struggles.
Buffalo hadn’t reached the playoffs since 1999 before the team hired Sean McDermott as coach in 2017. He’s reached the postseason three times in four years, including a 10-3 wildcard loss to the Jaguars in his first season. The Bills reached the AFC championship game last year. They drafted their franchise quarterback in Josh Allen and put together a defense that is the best in the NFL.
Safety Micah Hyde has more interceptions on his own (three) than the Jaguars do as a team (two). Buffalo is holding teams to 15.6 points per game and 269 yards an outing.
“So, all three levels [on defense], this is as good a team as I’ve seen,” Meyer said.
The Jaguars have their franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, but are a work in progress everywhere else. Running back James Robinson is battling a heel injury, but Meyer said he’s making strides in his recovery. The defense showed promise in the second half of the loss to Seattle, but there needs to be more.
How do the Jaguars get back some of that fire that they showed in a Week 4 loss to Cincinnati and a Week 6 win over Miami? Meyer said that he’s hyper focused on trying to get the team back in that mode after a disappointing step back last Sunday in a 31-7 loss to the Seahawks.
“It’s every second of the day is how do you win a game. And that’s the mentality. It’s not are we building for this, are we … No. Every second, I still believe in this locker room,” he said. “I still believe in this team. We had great momentum we got to get it back. We didn’t play very well and a bunch of penalties and uncharacteristic of what was going on three or four weeks prior to that.”
What didn’t change for Meyer since Sunday was the roster. The NFL trade deadline passed Tuesday with little activity across the league.
“Yeah, not much happened in the NFL,” he said. “Like we all watched and that’s obviously Trent and I would come in every day. We’d sit and talk we had a few conversations, but nothing materialized.”