Darrell Bevell learns to roll with the repeated punches for Jaguars

Interim coach has to adjust to new responsibilities, plus more COVID-19 protocols

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on in the game against the Denver Broncos at TIAA Bank Field on September 19, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) (JULIO AGUILAR, 2021 Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s been a busy week for Darrell Bevell.

On Wednesday afternoon, he was still the Jaguars offensive coordinator and busy installing a defensive game plan for Sunday’s home game against the Texans.

Hours later, Bevell was named the interim coach after Jacksonville fired Urban Meyer. He met the media for the first time as the interim coach on Thursday afternoon. Later that day, the NFL put back in place numerous layers of COVID-19 protocols.

That included Zoom meetings with players, which took place Friday morning. Bevell said that just added to a chaotic week for the Jaguars.

“I mean the hits keep coming, right? It’s like the first day [and they said], ‘Here you go. You’re welcome. We’re going to give you new COVID protocols.’ So hey, we have to deal with what comes our way,” Bevell said. “The guys were great, just everybody kind of had to refresh a little bit, the mute button, and all those kinds of things, where’s that thing at? But it was a great meeting.”

For Bevell, it’s a crash course in trying to get ready to face a Texans team that walloped Jacksonville 37-21, the first of five straight losses to open the season for the Jaguars.

Bevell said this game will feel different for many reasons.

He’s planning on being down on the sideline after spending the first 13 weeks in the coaching box. And Bevell said that he still plans to call plays, even from the sideline. That could change going forward, with passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer taking over that role. Bevell said the sudden changes this week would have been too much to put on Schottenheimer to do against Houston.

“After Sunday and just seeing how everything goes where we can take a breath for a minute and then go from there and make those decisions,” Bevell said.

Jacksonville (2-11) is desperate to end another five-game losing streak and figure out how to get in the end zone. It is coming off a 20-0 loss to the Titans, its first shutout loss since 2009. And the offense has been in a funk, scoring just six touchdowns in its last seven games.

Outside of the Meyer bombshell this week, the COVID changes are just one more big speed bump for the Jaguars.

The NFL has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks and reinstated strict protocols as a result of that.

“Effective immediately, all clubs will implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel. We will continue to strongly encourage booster shots as the most effective protection,” the NFL said in a statement.

“Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19. All of these changes are grounded in our data and science-backed approach, with safety our number-one goal for the entire NFL community.”

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.