NASHVILLE — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer wants to take out the garbage.
And by garbage, he means the person or persons leaking information outside the organization regarding what’s going on inside the facility. The latest report — that he and receiver Marvin Jones had a screaming match, and that he called his assistant coaches losers — came out Saturday. Meyer denied both Sunday and said anyone leaking information risks losing their job.
“What’s the answer [when things are going badly]? Start leaking information or some nonsense?” Meyer said after the Jaguars’ 20-0 loss at Tennessee on Sunday, the fourth shutout defeat in franchise history and the first since a Week 5 loss to Seattle in 2009. “No. No, that’s nonsense. That’s garbage. I’ve been very blessed. I’ve not really dealt with that. I’ve not dealt with, ‘Well, did you hear what he said?’ What? No. Let’s improve on offense and get our quarterback in a position to be successful. That’s our focus.
“What someone’s brother said, or someone said someone said, that will occupy very little of my time. And if there is a source, that source is unemployed. I mean, within seconds, if there’s some source that’s doing that.”
League sources confirmed to ESPN on Saturday an NFL Network report that Jones had to be persuaded to return to the team facility after leaving in response to Meyer’s published criticism of the wide receivers. Sources also said Meyer and Jones had a heated exchange at practice after he did return.
However, Meyer on Sunday denied that he and Jones had an argument, and denied the NFL Network report that he called his assistant coaches “losers” and questioned their résumés during a staff meeting. Meyer said Jones did come to him to question what Meyer said about the receivers but that the conversation was not heated.
“Calling someone a loser, that’s inaccurate,” Meyer said. “I have high expectations for our coaches. I’m very demanding of our coaches and expect guys to be held accountable for their positions, and the times when they’re not, we address it. But I assure you there was not whatever report … that’s nonsense.
“[Regarding Jones] I think I said something like we have some injury issues and some lack of consistency. We talked about that, and he’s great. We moved on. One thing about Marvin, and there’s a lot of players, especially these professional veterans, there’s a lot of pride. Some guys aren’t used to this, and he’s one of them. But he’s fantastic and we have a fantastic relationship, and I started hearing that, and Marvin looked at me — he walked by yesterday when I saw something on TV, like a heated argument, and he goes, ‘I guess we’re not allowed to talk anymore, are we?’ and started laughing about it. So there’s nothing.”
Meyer said he plans to address the news reports with the team Monday, but he did speak with owner Shad Khan on Saturday night and for roughly 15 minutes after Sunday’s loss. Meyer wouldn’t say what the two spoke about other than to say that Khan has “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.
“Our focus is to finish the season strong and to make whatever adjustments we have to make to get this thing cooking.”
The offense on Sunday didn’t even get warm. The Jaguars managed just 184 yards — the third time this season it has failed to surpass 200 yards, which is a franchise record — and running back James Robinson had a career-low 4 yards on six carries. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw a career-high four interceptions (he never threw more than two in any game during his college career at Clemson), though one of those came after a ball bounced off receiver Laviska Shenault‘s hands.
As if the stats weren’t embarrassing enough, Shenault and receiver Laquon Treadwell collided because one of them ran the wrong route late in the fourth quarter.
The end result was the Jaguars’ 15th consecutive road loss, ninth consecutive loss to an AFC South opponent, eighth in a row in Nashville and fifth in a row overall. It’s also just the second time in Meyer’s coaching career in which one of his teams was shut out (Ohio State lost 31-0 to Clemson in a College Football Playoff semifinal following the 2016 season).
“I assured [Khan] that I still believe in my heart that we will [turn the franchise around],” Meyer said. “It hasn’t exactly materialized the way I expected it to have, the experience of winning games. I knew that this was somewhat of a build. I also really believe that we have plenty of good enough players to go win games. I still believe that.
“That’s why I get so disappointed sometimes with our coaching staff or myself, because I think we can do better than we’re doing. Really disappointed.”