The Jacksonville Jaguars are again in the head coaching market, but with a month left to play, they'll have to first figure out how to finish the season.
That task falls on the shoulders of interim head coach Darrell Bevell. The former Vikings, Seahawks, Lions and Jaguars offensive coordinator is in the interim chair for a second straight season after replacing Matt Patricia in Detroit near the end of 2020, and takes control of a team that has won just two games this season.
He's excited by the way his team has handled yet another coaching change in Jacksonville, one that came amid controversy that ultimately forced Jaguars owner Shad Khan to fire Urban Meyer.
"I think they were focused," Bevell said. "I was really excited about that, because anytime you have really any type of distractions, it can be something that can affect practice and affect the things that you're doing. I was fired up with the way that they came out there. They handled their business and we practiced really well today."
Bevell is in a bit of an awkward spot being a remaining member of Meyer's original staff, but that comes with the territory, and he managed to avoid directly commenting on his time spent under Meyer. He did respond affirmatively when asked if the Jaguars staff completed their Thursday game-planning session without Meyer. As for the on-field action, Bevell said Thursday he will continue to call plays through at least Week 15, as he has all season, before considering a change in the near future.
As interim head coach, Bevell will be on the sideline. He said he's energized by the thought of being able to communicate face to face with his players, who are expected to give their full effort in a season that is otherwise lost.
One of the first adjustments Bevell will make is reinstating running back James Robinson to a full workload after he'd been benched on multiple occasions under Meyer's watch. It was one of the many occurrences that drew the ire of players, including quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and should no longer be a problem with Bevell now in charge.
"James Robinson is our starting running back, and he will be played as such," Bevell said.
Lawrence spoke after Bevell and seemed chipper, doing his best to keep all matters in house and remain focused on football.
"I really appreciate coach Meyer and everything he's done for me," Lawrence said. "I wish him nothing but the best. Some changes had to be made, but I wish him the best."
As for the direction of the franchise beyond the Meyer era, Bevell didn't offer much, preferring to keep the focus on the Jaguars' next opponent, the Houston Texans.
"It's really just full steam ahead on football," Bevell said. There's not gonna be, we're not gonna have these side conversations like, 'Hey, what did you think?' We're going. That's what's the cool thing is about these guys. They come to work, they're ready to go. Again, at some point, when you need to reflect, there's probably a chance to reflect. But right now, it's all eyes on the Houston Texans."
Bevell is in charge of one of the most talent-poor rosters in the NFL, meaning it's fair to expect the Jaguars to continue to struggle. But with Meyer's tenure now in the rearview mirror, Jacksonville can at least take its first steps forward into the future.
Bevell will be leading the charge. We'll see if it produces a difference in performance starting with this weekend.