Darrell Bevell has taken the reins of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who fired coach Urban Meyer Wednesday night following a string of controversies.
The offensive coordinator received a late-night call from general manager Trent Baalke and agreed to become interim coach for the remainder of the season.
Bevell took the podium as the acting head coach Thursday and declined multiple times to get in the weeds on reported allegations that Meyer, among other things, kicked a former player in the leg during a workout and told his assistant coaches they were losers.
“It’s really just full steam ahead on football,” Bevell said. “There’s not going to be — not going to have these side conversations or anything, like, ‘Hey, what’d you think?’ I mean, we’re going. That’s what the cool thing is about these guys, is they come to work, they’re ready to go. 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 did offer a concise answer when asked about running back James Robinson’s status. Robinson was benched by Meyer early in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, creating a stir and apparently upsetting rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
“James Robinson’s our starting running back, and he will be played as such,” Bevell said.
This is the second straight year Bevell will see out the end of a season as an interim coach. He replaced Matt Patricia for the Detroit Lions’ final five games last season.
“There’s just so much more that comes across your desk that really you don’t even think about,” Bevell said. “As a coordinator, as a position coach, you’re just so dialed in on what you’re doing. There’s all these other things that are going on in the building, all these other people, and all of a sudden it’s all on your desk. Those were the things that I learned and I think it’s prepared me for this opportunity again today.”
Lawrence said Wednesday, prior to Meyer being fired, that he’d learned there will always be some form of “drama” in the NFL but that the drama had to stop in order for 2-11 Jacksonville to win more games.
“I wouldn’t say relief, but I would say it just brings some clarity and some direction moving forward,” Lawrence said Thursday. “We really want to go and finish this season strong, and to be honest, it’s been hard the last week with everything going on. There’s a lot of things being stirred up, I think by the outside too, it didn’t help, made things a lot worse. But also, with everything that’s going on, it’s hard to be focused and have all your attention and efforts going toward winning the game when there’s so many things going on.”
Lawrence thanked Meyer and said he respected the coach.
“He’s one of the main reasons I’m here,” Lawrence said. “He drafted me. So that will always be there and I wish him nothing but the best. Obviously it didn’t work out here. Some changes had to be made. But as far as coach and his future, I wish him nothing but the best.”
Lawrence said he had had “a lot of conversations” throughout the season with team owner Shad Khan, but he and Khan did not talk Wednesday before Meyer’s firing.
The quarterback was asleep when the news broke Wednesday night. He awoke to find he had text messages about the news.
“Then just, naturally, kinda Googled it to see what’s going on, just to be honest,” Lawrence said with a laugh. “Saw that, rolled over and told (wife) Marissa, ‘Hey, this just happened. It’ll be an interesting day at work.’”
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