Urban Meyer

Josh Lambo Sues Jaguars

Free agent kicker Josh Lambo has filed a lawsuit against the Jaguars, as Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com writes. The suit alleges that former head coach Urban Meyer created a hostile work environment and that the organization did nothing to rectify the situation.

Lambo missed a kick in each of Jacksonville’s first two preseason games in 2021, and during a practice before the final preseason game, Lambo alleges that Meyer kicked him in the leg and said, “Hey dips—, make your f—ing kicks!” When Lambo told Meyer, “Don’t you ever f—ing kick me again!” Meyer replied by saying, “I’m the head ball coach. I’ll kick you whenever the f— I want.” The suit further avers that Lambo notified his agent, Richard Irvin, of the interaction and that Irvin made the team’s counsel aware of the matter the following day.

These allegations became public in December, and at the time, the Jaguars released a statement saying that the team immediately responded to Irvin’s query and that, “[c]ounsel offered to speak with Josh, or to assist Josh in speaking with coaching or any other football personnel, if he was comfortable with her sharing the information. Any suggestion otherwise is blatantly false.”

The day after the alleged incident, Lambo claims that Meyer approached him and said, “if you ever speak to me like that again, you’ll be out of here. You’re the first player I’ve ever let speak to me that way in my career, and if you do it again, you’re gone.” 

Though Lambo remained on the roster and operated as the Jaguars’ kicker through the first several games of the 2021 season, he missed all three of his field goal attempts and two of his seven PATs. He was released in October before catching on with the Steelers’ taxi squad. Pittsburgh dropped him a week later.

In 2019, Lambo led the NFL with a 97.1% field goal conversion rate. Then, in 2020, he lost the bulk of the year to injury, but went 5-of-5 on his FG tries while making 8-of-10 extra point attempts. His suit alleges that Meyer’s physical and verbal abuse impacted his ability to maintain his previous levels of performance, and he is seeking backpay and other damages.

Prior to the 2019 campaign, Lambo signed a four-year extension that was scheduled to run through the 2022 season. He was set to earn $4MM in 2022, but as a vested veteran, he did collect the full $3.5MM salary he was owed in 2021, and he took home $14K while on the Steelers’ p-squad.

Meyer, who was fired in December before completing one season as Jaguars’ HC, flatly denied Lambo’s allegations.

AFC Rumors: Jaguars, Williams, Van Roten, Leonard, Browns, Griffin III

After the Jaguars fired former head coach Urban Meyer, it became public that Jacksonville had no intentions of paying Meyer the remaining money on his contract, as he was being fired for cause. There was speculation at the time that the parties may follow existing precedents and negotiate a settlement in order to avoid a legal situation.

According to Jarrett Bell of USA Today, an anonymous source with knowledge of the situation informed the columnist that, to date, the two sides have been unable to strike a settlement agreement.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC, starting with a rumor out of South Beach:

  • The Dolphins should have plenty of options for their offensive line configuration, but it most likely hinges on what they do with interior offensive lineman Connor Williams. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Miami isn’t quite sure what to do with Williams, working him at center and left guard over the past three weeks. The good news, is that it gives them plenty of options. With Terron Armstead solidified at left tackle and Robert Hunt solidly at right guard, Williams could fit at either position. If you put Williams at left guard, the team would likely have Michael Deiter start at center and leave Liam Eichenberg and Austin Jackson to compete for the starting right tackle job. If you start Williams at center, Eichenberg can slide in to the left guard job and Jackson can man the right tackle position.
  • The Jets recently released guard Greg Van Roten. According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, head coach Robert Saleh claimed that they released Van Roten because they believe he has the potential to start for other teams in the league. His release is meant to allow him to find those teams that would provide him a starting opportunity. Saleh was quoted saying they’d “love to have him back,” if he fails to find such opportunities.
  • Colts linebacker Darius Leonard had ankle surgery in June last year before the season. The surgery helped him to get healthy for the season, where he played every game but one and was named a first-team All-Pro for the third time in his career. While the ankle is still ailing him, Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star reported that Leonard says the ankle is better now than it was at this point last year. This is an encouraging sign for Leonard and a scary message for the other teams in the AFC South. Leonard has been named to an All-Pro team every year of his career while being nagged by his ankle ailment. A healthy Leonard is a dangerous weapon for opposing teams to have to game-plan against.
  • With the return of free agent wide receiver Jarvis Landry seeming less and less likely, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com believes the Browns will be able to push a bit harder now for free agent pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney to return. Cabot points out that drafting UAB pass rusher Alex Wright makes the need to sign Clowney a little less urgent, but also mentions that fellow pass rusher Myles Garrett wants Clowney back, which could help his case. Cabot claims that, if the two parties can’t agree to a new deal, Cleveland will consider former Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes instead.
  • We’ve all seen Rich Eisen of NFL Network run the 40-yard dash for charity. Well, this year, former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III, currently an analyst for ESPN, participated and reportedly was clocked at 4.48 seconds. Mike Florio of NBC Sports reports that on Eisen’s show, Griffin made the claim that some teams took notice of his impressive run and reached out to him. This doesn’t necessarily mean that any teams have offered to bring him back to the NFL, but Griffin has publicly stated his desire to return to football in the past, even claiming that his contract with ESPN would allow him to sign with an NFL team if the opportunity presents itself. Griffin last spent time in the league as Lamar Jackson‘s back up on the Ravens. He filled in multiple times leading many to wonder if he still had the ability to lead an NFL offense based on his brief appearances.

Jags’ GM Backs Eberflus for HC

The Jaguars have had a bit of turbulence as they try to replace Urban Meyer, but a favorite has emerged as Colts’ defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was the first candidate to be invited back for a second interview. An important aspect of Jacksonville’s search, Eberflus has received a strong backing from Jaguars’ general manager Trent Baalke, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. 

Baalke has a reputation for being a difficult general manager for head coaches to work with. Back when Baalke was the 49ers’ general manager in 2014, many reports of clashes with Jim Harbaugh littered the season, which ended with San Francisco and Harbaugh parting ways. This has made the search for a new head coach difficult as La Canfora reports that top candidates for the job are “only seriously considering it if assured Baalke would be out following the draft.” Baalke has been accused by sources of trying to prize his job security while securing a head coach.

Baalke first endorsed University of Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, but, after O’Brien interviewed for the position, Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan‘s son, Tony Khan, and a high-ranking official with the team shared their issues with O’Brien’s history of toxicity.

With O’Brien out of the running, Baalke set his sights on Eberflus. The four-year defensive coordinator in Indianapolis has overseen a top-10 scoring defense in three of his four seasons calling the defense. Eberflus’s defense was exposed by the very team he’s interviewing for when the Colts’ allowed 26 points in a must-win Week 18 loss to the Jaguars that eliminated Indianapolis from postseason contention.

Jacksonville’s willingness to seriously consider the candidate Baalke prefers points to them potentially wanting to keep Baalke as general manager. If this is the route they follow, it will likely tie Baalke’s future to Eberflus’s. There are still several candidates alive in this search, though. Keep track of the situation by following our 2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker.

Urban Meyer’s Thoughts On Firing

NFL.com recently conducted an exclusive interview with former Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer. Meyer was fired by Jacksonville shortly after midnight on Thursday morning.

The interview covered many of the unflattering headlines that have colored the coach’s tenure in Duval, but started with an apology. Meyer apologized to the City of Jacksonville and painted the picture of a successful football future for the City, including a full stadium and a new facility promised by Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan.

Meyer talked a bit about something that he didn’t have a ton of experience with previously: losing. Meyer commented, “Losing eats away at your soul. Once you start losing, it’s hard on everybody.” This was perhaps most clear during what would be Meyer’s last post-game handshake of the 2021 NFL season, in which it seemed he couldn’t be bothered to even look at his former assistant, Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel, after a convincing 20-0 loss. Meyer commented on that moment, claiming that he and Vrabel are really close and saying, “that had nothing to do with [Vrabel]…I can’t take losing. I try to accept it, it just eats away at my soul.” 

On many of the recent headlines that were thought to have contributed to his early exit, Meyer argued that they just weren’t true. Meyer said that a reported incident during which team captain Marvin Jones left the facility due to Meyer’s public and private criticism was not accurately portrayed. He also completely denied that he delivered a message to his assistant coaches that he is a winner and they are losers. Meyer also disputed that a preseason altercation occurred wherein he kicked former Jaguars’ kicker Josh Lambo while Lambo was stretching. Meyer was quoted saying, “It was like, ‘Wait a minute, where is this coming from?’ I’ve certainly made a few mistakes but those weren’t right.”

Meyer was asked about another highly criticized decision he made of benching James Robinson for an extended period of time against the Rams. The second-year running back is widely thought to be the best player on the struggling Jaguars. Meyer shrugged the decision off as a miscommunication. “We discussed it as a staff,” said Meyer. “When you see someone lose the ball or even see them be loose with the ball, get them out of the game, get their mind right, and then get them back in. When he fumbled, I said, ‘Take him out.’ We took him out and then we had lack of communication about when to put him back in.”

The other young star on Meyer’s former team is number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence. Meyer was complimentary of the 22 year old quarterback, commiserating with the tough situation he was put into. Meyer noted the franchise’s 15-game losing streak and injuries to key contributors on offense as obstacles Lawrence had to face. He ended the discussion on Lawrence saying, “There is zero doubt Trevor is going to be a great NFL quarterback.”

Questions were delivered on if there is an ongoing discussion with Jacksonville about the remaining money owed on his contract and on if Khan made the right move. Meyer declined to comment on both questions.

When asked what comes next for Meyer, he replied, “To be determined.” As of now, he has not heard from anyone in the football world about potential coaching opportunities. One can’t help but to think of where Meyer was a year ago, when he claimed he was living “the perfect life:” working at FOX with no plans to coach in the future.

More On Jaguars, Urban Meyer Fallout

The fallout from Urban Meyer‘s firing in Jacksonville continues. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington write that the Jaguars fired their now-former head coach for cause and don’t intend on paying him the remaining money on his contract.

Jacksonville is withholding the guaranteed money from the remaining four years of Meyer’s contract. As the writers note, we’ve seen organizations and former coaches negotiate a settlement to avoid a legal situation, and there’s a chance that lawyers for Meyer and the Jaguars could end up resolving the situation. If not, there’s a good chance the former HC will push back against the Jaguars’ decision to fire him for cause.

Meyer dealt with plenty of controversy during his stint with the organization. It started with that whole flight fiasco earlier this season, which was followed by a notorious viral video that showed Meyer at a bar dancing with a woman. Last weekend, we got a damning report that detailed turmoil surrounding the then-HC. Meyer reportedly belittled his fellow coaches, caused respected veteran wideout Marvin Jones to leave practice, and buried James Robinson on the depth chart. This week, kicker Josh Lambo spoke about a preseason incident in which the Jaguars’ coach kicked Lambo while he was stretching. Hours later, Meyer was canned.

However, according to ESPN, there wasn’t a specific incident that caused the Jaguars to withhold the guaranteed money. Rather, the organization believes that “culmination of instances” justified the decision to fire for cause. Meanwhile, while the decision to fire Meyer immediately followed Lambo’s story, owner Shad Khan had reportedly made up his mind following Sunday’s shutout loss to the Titans. According to ESPN, Meyer didn’t have an explanation for the team’s struggles when pressed on it by the owner.

Jaguars Fire Urban Meyer

Despite signing a five-year contract to coach the Jaguars out of mediocrity, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that, after only eleven months, Urban Meyer is no longer the head coach in Jacksonville. Urban had a bit of a rocky debut season in the NFL, going a paltry 2-11 in a year full of controversy. The firing comes a little over a month after Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan was reportedly “all in” on the first-year head coach. 

Meyer was a headline hire for Jacksonville, replacing Doug Marrone as head coach shortly after the Jaguars had secured the worst record in the 2020 NFL season. Meyer had shown his abilities as an accomplished coach in the college ranks, winning three national titles between his years in Gainesville and Columbus. The value of his five-year deal was never officially confirmed, but reports claimed that Meyer was asking for $12MM annually, which would have made him the second-highest paid coach in the NFL under Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichek.

The Meyer-era didn’t take long before showing it’s sour potential. In July, the Jaguars were one of three teams penalized for violating the CBA rules for offseason workouts. The Jaguars were fined a nominal $200K and Meyer was handed a $100K fine, as well. Not two weeks later, Meyer was subpoenaed by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Iowa in relation to Chris Doyle, the former University of Iowa strength coach who left the school to join Meyer’s staff in Jacksonville. Doyle was the subject of a $20MM racial discrimination civil lawsuit filed by eight former Iowa players. The hiring of Doyle, itself, had created a slew of backlash. Meyer drew yet another offseason headline with comments that COVID-19 vaccination statuses were being considered when trimming the team’s roster down to 53 players, leading to an investigation by the NFLPA.

In October, Meyer once again found himself under fire after a viral video surfaced showing him with a young woman at his restaurant in Columbus. The Jaguars had just played a Thursday night game in Cincinnati. After the loss to the Bengals, Meyer didn’t fly back to Florida with the team, electing to stay in Ohio to visit family. Meyer claimed he had gone with family members to the restaurant where the viral video had been recorded. He spent the following Monday apologizing to the team, his family, and Khan.

Since then, there have been several reports of discontent within the Jaguars’ organization, with the most recent coming from kicker Josh Lambo who spoke about a preseason incident in which the Jaguars’ coach kicked Lambo while he was stretching. From continuous rumors that Meyer could have interest in open college coaching jobs to expectations that Meyer would fire the entire staff at the end of the season, it’s safe to say that the Meyer-Jacksonville partnership has not gone according to plan.

Ian Rapoport, of NFL Network, was quick to follow Schefter in tweeting that, with Meyer out, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as head coach in an interim capacity. Bevell is in his 21st year of coaching in the NFL, with previous stints as the quarterbacks coach in Green Bay and the offensive coordinator in Minnesota, Seattle, and Detroit. Bevell actually has experience as an interim head coach, having led the Detroit Lions to a 1-4 finish following the firing of then-head coach Matt Patricia just last year. The Jaguars’ offense has struggled under Bevell with a rookie quarterback and an identical offensive line to the line from 2020 that helped Jacksonville earn the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. They currently rank 30th in total offense and 31st in scoring offense.

Bevell should have a soft opening term as interim coach in Jacksonville, with matchups against the Texans and Jets, before finishing the season with the Patriots and Colts. Meanwhile, we’ll have to wait and see just how genuine the college interest in Meyer was as the mired coach navigates the aftermath of a tumultuous 2021 campaign.

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan On Urban Meyer

Jaguars owner Shad Khan isn’t happy with the current state of the team. Still, he says that he won’t rush to make any decisions on the future of head coach Urban Meyer

[RELATED: Khan Meets With Jags Coaches]

I want to do the right thing for the team. I want to do the right thing for the city,” Khan said (via ESPN.com). “That, to me, is way more important than just acting helter-skelter on emotion. I think we have a history of really looking at the facts and then really doing the right thing.

Gus Bradley was here four years. Doug Marrone was here four years. It was wins and losses and this is a little bit different but, you know, I’m going to reflect on all of that and do what’s the right thing for the team and the right thing for the city.”

The Jaguars are 2-11 after getting shut out by the Titans for their fifth straight loss. Earlier this week, Khan met with coaches to reaffirm his confidence in them while imploring them to get the locker room in order. This comes after a string of reports citing discord between Meyer, his assistants, and several veterans on the roster.

I’m not impulsive,” Khan told reporters. “I learned that a long time ago with anything that’s this important. You don’t want to be impulsive. You want to look at exactly what I know firsthand or people are telling me and then collect that and do the right thing.

The Jaguars will look to get back in the win column on Sunday against the Texans. They last met in the season opener, a 37-21 win for Houston.

Latest On Urban Meyer, Jaguars Coaching Staff

Following a damning report from this past weekend that detailed tensions between Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer and both his players and staff, Shad Khan has apparently stepped in. According to Josina Anderson (on Twitter), the Jaguars owner “addressed the coaching staff in person” following Saturday’s report.

[REPORT: Jaguars Players, Coaches Frustrated With HC Urban Meyer]

During the meeting, Khan still expressed confidence in his coaching staff, but he encouraged his staff to improve the players’ cohesiveness. The owner also specifically addressed the weekend report, noting his dismay that news like that would leak out of the organization. Finally, Khan didn’t provide any “definitive assurances nor any discouragement” about the coaching staff’s status for the rest of the season or next year.

Meanwhile, Anderson also hears that staff confirmed that Meyer reportedly belittled coaches in a meeting, declaring that he himself was a “winner” and insinuating that his fellow coaches were “losers.” These coaches also lamented the feeling of “not being on the same page” as their HC, with some coaches feeling “unappreciated [and] undermined.”

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, tensions surrounding Meyer have “boiled over with multiple run-ins with players and other coaches in recent weeks.” Pelissero’s report included a number of anecdotes, including telling notes about veteran wideout Marvin Jones‘ apparent dissatisfaction with his HC, Meyer’s (mis)handling of his coaching staff, and Meyer’s handling of running back James Robinson.

Jaguars Players, Coaches Frustrated With HC Urban Meyer

Ever since Urban Meyer skipped a team flight following a Week 4 loss to the Bengals, there have been questions surrounding the head coach’s commitment to and control within the Jaguars organization. In fact, we heard just last night that Meyer and GM Trent Baalke may not be seeing eye to eye. Well, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network has added some fuel to that fire this morning.

According to the reporter, tensions surrounding Meyer have “boiled over with multiple run-ins with players and other coaches in recent weeks.” This has led to rumblings that Meyer could be done in Jacksonville after only one season. The organization is naturally frustrated as they currently have a 2-10 record and have averaged only 10.6 points per game over the six contests since their bye. The HC has continually shifted blame on the players and coaches, per Pelissero, comments that have only helped to “exacerbated frustration in the building.”

The reporter provided more damning anecdotes that seem to show that things are spiraling out of control in Jacksonville. For starters, respected veteran wideout Marvin Jones recently left team facilities before returning and having a heated exchange with Meyer. Next, Meyer reportedly belittled coaches in a meeting by declaring that he was a “winner” and insinuating that his fellow coaches were “losers.” Finally, James Robinson‘s recent benching was indeed Meyer’s decision, and the HC tasked RB coach Bernie Parmalee with preventing the starter from reentering the game. Robinson only got more playing time once top-overall pick Trevor Lawrence questioned why his teammate wasn’t playing.

As Pelissero details, there’s a number of additional reasons why someone would question Meyer’s authority in Jacksonville. Multiple members of his staff have either stepped away or will be taking jobs elsewhere, and the organization was also slapped with fines about the HC’s violation of OTA rules (Meyer was also investigated after acknowledging that he factored vaccination status into his roster decisions). Then there was that whole flight fiasco earlier this season, which was followed by a notorious viral video that showed Meyer at a bar dancing with a woman.

Despite it all, Pelissero writes that owner Shad Khan has shown “no signs” of wanting to make a change. Khan has generally been loyal to his staff, and the owner had pursued Meyer for years. Unless things are truly too far gone, it sounds like Khan will be in favor of giving Meyer a second season with the organization.

AFC Rumors: Jags, Judon, Raiders, Browns

Less than a year into the JaguarsUrban MeyerTrent Baalke partnership, the two power brokers may not be seeing eye to eye. Some tension has surfaced between the new coworkers, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. This is certainly not the first sign of trouble for the Meyer regime in Jacksonville. A host of controversies and/or scrutinized decisions have emerged this year, peaking with the first-year NFL HC’s decision not to fly back to Jacksonville with the team earlier this season, and the Jags are now 2-10. They have seen their offense, led by prized QB prospect Trevor Lawrence, struggle for most of the season. The Jaguars are averaging just 10.6 points per game over their six contests since their bye week, inviting speculation about assistants’ job security. Baalke, the ex-49ers GM whom the Jags named to the same position shortly after tabbing Meyer to lead their latest rebuild, might not be on solid ground either. While Meyer being a one-and-done is far from certain, the former national championship-winning coach’s first season has gone about as badly as possible.

Here is the latest from around the AFC:

  • The Patriots’ Matt Judon deal has become one of the best from this past free agency period, with the ex-Ravens edge rusher having amassed a career-high 12.5 sacks. Deviating from its usual lower-key free agency strategy, New England moved quickly to land Judon on a four-year, $54.5MM accord. Prior to this agreement, Judon gave the Ravens a chance to match it, La Canfora writes. Judon had told teammates he did not want to leave Baltimore, JLC adds, though he had said in February everything would have to line up for him to stay. The Ravens, who have let several edge rushers walk to recoup compensatory picks, opted to retool at the position again. After letting let both Judon and Yannick Ngakoue leave, the Ravens drafted Odafe Oweh in Round 1 and signed Justin Houston on a low-cost deal.
  • Jaguars tight ends coach Tyler Bowen is set to become Virginia Tech’s offensive coordinator, Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com reports. Bowen, 32, is in his first season with the Jags. He had previously worked with new Hokies HC Brent Pry at Penn State, being a Nittany Lions assistant from 2018-20.
  • The Raiders figure to have several new staffers next year, with GM Mike Mayock and interim HC Rich Bisaccia far from assured they will be back. But the team will not be parting with Marcel Reece. The former Oakland fullback will be staying on as a senior adviser to Mark Davis, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Reece, who played for the Raiders for nine seasons (2008-16), has been in his current role since 2020. He figures to play a role in the franchise’s coaching search as well.
  • A.J. Cole joined Daniel Carlson in signing extensions to keep the Raiders’ current kicking corps intact long-term. The young punter signed a four-year deal worth $12.4MM, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Cole, who will receive $5.9MM guaranteed, is now one of the NFL’s five highest-paid punters.
  • Greg Newsome suffered a concussion on the final play of Browns practice Friday, Jeff Schudel of the Lorain Morning Journal tweets. Cleveland’s first-round pick is out for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. The Browns do have an experienced option to elevate into their starting lineup, with Greedy Williams having been a regular starter as a rookie in 2019. Pro Football Focus grades Williams, who has played 45% of Cleveland’s defensive snaps, as a top-20 corner this season.