NFL

Urban Meyer committed to building Jaguars despite USC speculation

By Sports Desk September 15, 2021

Urban Meyer has no intention of quitting his NFL coaching career after just one game with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Meyer has been a hugely successful long-time college coach, winning national championships with Florida in 2006 and 2008 and Ohio State in 2014. 

But the 57-year-old is taking his first steps in the NFL with the Jaguars, who finished 2020 with a miserable 1-15 record. 

Meyer's Jacksonville bow did not go according to plan, though, as his new team went down 37-21 to a poor Houston Texans side on Sunday. 

When USC fired coach Clay Helton the following day, meaning an attractive college opening became available, there was some talk Meyer could already be tempted back to the FBS. 

The coach was not entertaining such speculation on Wednesday, however, as he told the media: "No chance. I'm here, committed to try to build an organisation." 

That build represents a significant challenge. The Texans appeared to be one of the Jags' few winnable match-ups in 2021, but they have now lost a franchise record 16 consecutive games – there have only been 11 previous streaks of 17 defeats or more in the NFL. 

Meyer will hope to make first overall pick Trevor Lawrence a cornerstone of his team, but the rookie quarterback contributed to that difficult opener. 

Trusted to throw the ball, with only the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushing less often than the Jags (23.5 per cent), Lawrence tossed a league-high three interceptions. 

Although there were also three touchdown passes, only Aaron Rodgers (36.8) had a worse passer rating than Lawrence (70.1), whose pass completion of 54.9 per cent the third worst. 

Meyer has already lost Travis Etienne, who starred alongside Lawrence at Clemson, to a season-ending injury. 

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    Kansas City trailed 14-0 in the second quarter at Arrowhead Stadium and were behind 14-3 at half-time, however, a lead is rarely safe against the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes and, when they went 17-14 ahead with fewer than four minutes left in the third quarter, the outcome seemed inevitable.

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    Herbert connected on the first of two touchdown passes to Mike Williams and, after Mecole Hardman found the endzone for the Chiefs, led a field goal drive to tie the game at 24-24.

    Mahomes still had over two minutes to work with to potentially win it for Kansas City but threw a critical interception and the Chargers' gamble to eschew a game-winning field goal paid off as Herbert hit Williams for another touchdown and, despite a missed extra point, Los Angeles held on as a late Hail Mary from the Chiefs came up short.

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    Harrison Butker's 34-yard field goal was all the Chiefs could muster in the first half but Jody Fortson caught a high two-yard pass from Mahomes to narrow the gap and Clyde-Edwards Helaire scampered into the endzone to give Kansas City the lead on a 10-yard reception.

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