If there was tension within the Jaguars organization entering Week 14, it wasn't quelled Sunday. It's likely worse.
The Jaguars were shut out at Tennessee, 20-0 -- their third 20-point defeat in four weeks and fifth straight loss overall. Much of the conversation afterward, however, was centered on what's going on within the organization outside of game days. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Saturday morning that Urban Meyer's short stint in Jacksonville has been pockmarked with run-ins with players and other coaches.
As his team fell to an AFC-worst 2-11 on the season, the first-year NFL coach said he assured Jaguars owner Shad Khan that he's going to turn things around. But he acknowledged reports of a fractured locker room aren't helping the cause.
"What's the answer? Start leaking information or some nonsense? No. No, that's nonsense, that's garbage," Meyer told reporters. "If there is a source, that source is unemployed. I mean, within seconds. If there's some source that's doing that."
The information in question includes a heated argument between Meyer and veteran wideout Marvin Jones, Meyer labeling his assistant coaches losers, and Meyer benching leading rusher James Robinson last week while publicly attributing the absence to injury. Meyer denied feuding with Jones and called the loser comment "inaccurate."
"We'll address it on Monday," he said of reports detailing internal discord. "The reality is that losing sucks, losing tears you apart, especially people with pride and people [who] worked their butts off and we just got to stick together and keep going."
Jacksonville has already been officially eliminated from playoff contention, leaving Meyer just four more weeks to galvanize his struggling team. After experiencing two decades of dominance as a college football coach, he admitted that people possibly leaking damaging information from his short time in the NFL would be new for him.
"Am I worried about losing the locker room? I'm always worried about losing the locker room when you're two and whatever we are," he said. "But then I see what I saw, and I see the guys play as hard as they possibly can. I challenge our coaches, I challenge our players and I challenge myself."
While Meyer had praise for his defense's performance versus Tennessee, he lamented his offense's execution. The Jags have scored fewer than 20 points in seven consecutive games. Meyer, long recognized for his offensive brilliance at the college level, was asked if he'd been shut out before.
"I don't know," he said. "I don't want to talk about it."
The neophyte NFL coach will have to continue answering to Khan, whom Pelissero reported prior to Sunday's game had not indicated he was seriously considering a coaching change. Meyer asserted he's on good terms with his boss.
"I talk to Shad all the time," Meyer said. "He's been fantastic since the day I've been here and we're going to do the best we can to win games. That's our job. I talked to him last night. I talked to him today. Our focus is to finish the season strong, make whatever adjustments we have to make to get this thing cooking."
Time, one way or another, is running out.