A number of teams in the NFL are looking at bringing in a new head coach. Yesterday, two teams, the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars, have announced that they have tied up a deal for a new face at the helm for the 2021 season.
New York Jets Appoint Former 49ers Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh
It is fair to say that the New York Jets have never been in such a mess. After five consecutive losing
seasons, the worst run in franchise history, they have turned to Robert Saleh (pictured) to be their new head coach.
Saleh earned his reputation on the back of being the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers much-admired defense.
That unit was the foundation stone for the 49ers Superbowl charge last year, but arguably with players lost to free agency and a number of top stars injured, Saleh’s achievements to have the fifth ranked defense in the NFL in a 6-10 team this season was equally noteworthy.
Saleh has signed for five years and it is thought he pipped Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to the post.
Key Decisions for Saleh to Make
Saleh, the first Lebanese American head coach in the NFL’s history, has a number of key decisions to make. Firstly, does he stick with struggling quarterback Sam Darnold, or seek a replacement?
The Jets are relatively well stocked in the forthcoming NFL Draft with two first round picks (2nd and 23rd) and they have around $71 million in cap space available.
However, they also have a roster devoid of any Pro Bowl talent and only two players that most experts feel a team could be shaped around; DT Quinnen Williams and LT Mekhi Becton.
Saleh’s first task will be to upgrade a struggling Jets team in a number of positions. Whether that first draft pick goes on a replacement quarterback, with Ohio State’s Justin Fields likely to be the pick, or another part of the team will give Jets fans a glimpse of how Saleh’s vision for the Jets future will proceed.
The chances of the Jets landing Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence as their top pick in the draft, as many of their fanbase had wanted, seem to have all but evaporated. Especially after the news of another new head coach appointment, this time in Florida.
Urban Meyer Returns to Jacksonville as Jaguars Head Coach
Urban Meyer coaching in Jacksonville in Florida, now where have we heard that before? Meyer’s stint
as the head coach of the Florida Gators had its ups and downs but he is to return to the sunshine state after being appointed head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday.
Jaguars owner Shahid Khan got his man after making it clear he felt that Meyer was the man for the task. Meyer has won three national championships in College Football and has a 187-32 record at that level in spells as head coach at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State.
Khan was delighted after the appointment commenting:
“This is a great day for Jacksonville and Jaguars fans everywhere. Urban Meyer is who we want and need, a leader, winner and champion who demands excellence and produces results.”
“While Urban already enjoys a legacy in the game of football that few will ever match, his passion for the opportunity in front of him here in Jacksonville is powerful and UNMISTAKABLE.”
Plenty of Opportunity to Rebuild the Jaguars
Meyer has plenty of opportunity to rebuild the Jaguars franchise. The Jags have a total of 11 picks in the 2021 Draft, including five inside the top 65, and they also hold the top pick, which Meyer is expected to use to draft Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, a player he has open admiration of from his recent stint as a College Football TV pundit.
With the Jaguars also nearly $100 million under the projected salary cap for next season, Meyer also has the funds to make a number of other changes in Free Agency too. The aim being to make the Jaguars, initially at least, a force in the AFC South once again.
Meyer is also believed to have asked for more control over the franchise, taking an active role in player recruitment and in deciding on his backroom staff; a concession that owner Khan was happy to agree to.
For both Jets and Jags fans, they will see these appointments as a chance to become a greater force in their respective divisions, each of which has seen a marked change over the last season or so.
In the Jet’s AFC East, Buffalo and Miami has emerged from the looming shadow of New England. while in the South the Titans and Colts have grasped the nettle ahead of the downward spiralling Texans.
Both new coaches will be hoping that with draft picks and cap money available, they can turn the worst two teams in the NFL into divisional contenders sooner, rather than later.