On the surface, Monday’s comments from Jaguars owner Shad Khan seemed to suggest that he’ll stay the course. On closer inspection, Khan has left the door open to do whatever he thinks he needs to do, given the current situation involving his team.
Speaking at a pre-planned reception on his superyacht with local beat writers to discuss the state of the team, the questions understandably focused on first-year coach Urban Meyer.
“I’m not impulsive,” Khan said, via Mark Long of the Associated Press. “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 first-hand, what people are telling me and then collect that and do the right thing.”
He noted that both Gus Bradley and Doug Marrone received four years to turn things around. Khan did not commit to another four-year plan for Meyer, calling it “absolutely a trap I don’t believe falling in.”
“I think we have a history of looking at the facts and doing the right thing,” Khan said. “Wins and losses, this is a little bit different. 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.”
And while on-field success continues to be the primary focus, Khan recognizes that there’s something different regarding the struggles of a team that usually enjoys the luxury of failing with anonymity.
“What’s different about this thing is you have losses and you have drama,” Khan said. “In the past, it was like, you were, ‘It’s like the lowly Jaguars’ and everyone left you alone. Now, the scrutiny we have is really something different.
“So how much of that is we’re bringing it upon ourselves or how much of that is deserved? In this case, Urban, he won wherever he was. This is something he’s never dealt with. And when you win in football, you create enemies. The only way you can really deal with that is you got to win again.”
Khan seems to be confused about the concept of enemy-generation in football. Obviously, success creates resentment from competitors. For Meyer, failure (and the coach’s handling of it) has triggered animosity from those who are not supposed to feel that way about him.
Regardless, Khan expects more from Meyer.
“The plan is you need to start winning now and tell me what you need and that’s what we’re going to do,” Khan said. “I feel we have a roster that is far better than winning two games.”
But it has only won two games. And Meyer is the man primarily and ultimately responsible for it.
He’s also responsible for hiring the assistants who have, at least partially, turned on him. It all started when Meyer abandoned his post and didn’t fly back to Jacksonville with the team after a Thursday night game in Cincinnati. That’s when “sources” began airing dirty laundry about interactions with assistant coaches, relaxed work hours, and other things that began to come to light after Meyer decided that it wasn’t important to be with his football team as it got on a plane and flew home. Given all of the various things that could happen on the flight (fights, arguments, illnesses, weather-related issues, etc.), the notion that the man in charge of the team chose not to be present continues to be incomprehensible.
Then there’s whatever Meyer told Khan when Meyer returned to work and was grilled for it. What has, or hasn’t, Khan done to explore whether Meyer told him the truth?
As to the latest issue involving Meyer, the mere fact that it exists becomes a bigger problem than whether he said or did what he’s accused of saying or doing. Those incidents are, in the grand scheme of things, not remotely as bad to ditching his team for a weekend of rest and recreation. The fact that someone broke ranks and spilled facts to the media conglomerate partially owned by the Jaguars shows that Meyer has failed the ultimate pass-fail test of whether he truly has control of his team.
He doesn’t. The house currently is on fire, and he’s spending his time quibbling about whether the lawn needs to be trimmed. Khan, one the great American success stories of his generation, presumably knows enough to know that the current situation, as crafted by Meyer, is the exact opposite of that.