Who’s next? 11 names the Jaguars could consider as head coach to replace Urban Meyer

FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2020, file photo, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels watches his team warm up before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans, in Foxborough, Mass. With the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants completing coaching hires on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, the Cleveland Browns job vacancy will be the last NFL opening filled. It's still unclear how quickly that will happen. The Browns, who fired Freddie Kitchens after just one season, are in the second week of interviews and have scheduled meetings this week with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Vikings coordinator Kevin Stefanski. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) (Elise Amendola, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars are now, for the second time in a year, on the search for a new head coach. With Urban Meyer’s departure, who can the Jaguars consider? Here are 10 names to keep an eye on.

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TIMELINE | Urban Meyer’s disastrous tenure in Jacksonville

HE’S OUT | Jaguars fire Meyer after just 13 games

Current NFL coordinators

The Jaguars could look to several who have had success on the offensive side of the ball and one on defense.

Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator

This would be a popular move among the fans. Leftwich never lived up to his draft position, but his mind for the game was evident as a player. He’s smart, he knows the city and he has had success as a quarterbacks coach and an offensive coordinator (granted, it’s hard to fail when you have Tom Brady as your quarterback). Is Leftwich ready to be a head coach? Maybe. He turns 42 on Jan. 14 which would make him one of the younger head coaches in the NFL, if hired.

Brian Daboll, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator

One of the keys for the Jaguars search could be finding a coach who has developed a young quarterback. Look no further than Daboll, who has helped to turn the Bills’ Josh Allen from a seeming draft bust to an NVP candidate. Daboll figures to get a head coaching job somewhere in 2022 and he could help unlock Trevor Lawrence’s potential.

Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator

Another offensive coordinator who has seemed to get overlooked every year. Why? It’s tough to say for sure, but Bieniemy’s track record of success with Patrick Mahomes is well-documented. At one point, the criticism was that he wasn’t calling the plays, Andy Reid was. That has changed. Still, the Jaguars wouldn’t be looking at him as a play-caller per se. They need a head coach. Is this the year that Bieneimy gets the top job somewhere?

Kellen Moore, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator

With the return of Dak Prescott, the Cowboys have been one of the most potent offenses in the NFL this season. Only the Buccaneers have scored more points than the Cowboys this season. Prescott has tossed 24 touchdowns through week 13. Moore has also balanced the running game — he’s not just about the pass. Dallas ranks sixth in the NFL in rushing yards as a team. Moore is the youngest of these candidates. He won’t turn 34 until July 5, but he is a star on the rise in his third year as the Dallas offensive coordinator.

Mike McDaniel, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator

Another 30-something offensive coordinator, McDaniel is in his first season as the 49ers offensive coordinator after spending the past four seasons as the run game coordinator for San Francisco, including in their Super Bowl season. Considering the Jaguars’ unwillingness to commit to the running game, McDaniel would bring a major change in mentality to a team that has turned James Robinson from a 1,000-yard rusher into an afterthought.

Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots offensive coordinator

McDaniels’ history is complicated by the fact that his best success came with Tom Brady at quarterback. However, this season, with Mac Jones enjoying the most success of any rookie quarterback, McDaniels’ stock is on the rise again. He has been through the wringer as a head coach. His less than two years in Denver produced an 11-17 record and no playoff appearances. Perhaps he learned enough lessons with the Broncos to make him a more successful head coach in his second sting, whenever that comes.

Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator

If the Jaguars chose a defensive coordinator to become a head coach, Eberflus could be the guy. In four seasons as the Colts defensive coordinator, the Colts have not been a defensive powerhouse, but his leadership on that side of the ball has won admirers across the NFL. Eberflus was a candidate for the Houston Texans’ head coaching position before removing his name from consideration. The Jaguars would almost certainly want to bring in a coach who could develop Trevor Lawrence, but if they found that man as the offensive coordinator, they could turn to someone like Eberflus as the head coach. It’s a longshot, but his name deserves to be considered.

Those with NFL head coaching experience

There are three names that were discussed last year, and one that likely won’t be available, but would go right to the top of the list if he was.

Jim Caldwell, former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions head coach

Few coaches have been more respected by their teams than Caldwell, who led the Colts to a pair of divisional titles and then, more impressively, took the Lions to the playoffs twice. Detroit has not been back to the postseason since Caldwell’s departure. His career record as a head coach is 62-50, which equates to a nine or ten win season. Would the Jaguars kill for that kind of a record right now? You bet.

Marvin Lewis, former Cincinnati Bengals head coach

Another respected and appreciated head coach with loads of NFL experience. Lewis is currently a special advisor on the Arizona State staff, but his desire to return to the NFL is well-known. As the head coach of the Bengals for 16 years, Lewis took Cincinnati to the playoffs seven times and finished with a record slightly over .500. Again, not Hall of Fame worthy, but it would be a major improvement over what the Jaguars have produced in the last decade.

Doug Pederson, former head coach Philadelphia Eagles

Pederson won a Super Bowl ring when his Nick Foles-led Eagles beat Tom Brady and the Patriots. He was fired after last season after a 4-11-1 record, his first losing season since going 7-9 in his first year in Philadelphia in 2016. The next year he won the Lombardi Trophy. Peterson is a creative offensive mind who is credited with developing Carson Wentz, so he has a track record of helping young quarterbacks take steps forward.

Mike Tomlin, head coach Pittsburgh Steelers

Tomlin is still employed by the Steelers, but after an up and down season, there is a very small chance he could come available. The Steelers’ ownership is historically very patient, so don’t hold your breath on this one. Still, he is the kind of name that could give the Jaguars instant credibility.

College coaches

No. Just no.

Who you got?

Now that we have thrown some names out there, who would you like to see take over? Feel free to add to the discussion if the coach you want wasn’t listed.


About the Author:

Cole joined News4Jax full-time in January 2017, but he has been a part of the team since he began filling in as a sports anchor in 2005.