The Washington Post

‘No chance’ of leaving for USC, Meyer asserts

- ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Jacksonvil­le Jaguars looked unprepared in Coach Urban Meyer’s NFL debut, a 37-21 loss at Houston on Sunday. It was such a shoddy performanc­e against another team presumed to be one of the league’s worst that critics wondered whether Meyer would stick around long enough to fix the flounderin­g franchise.

And when Southern California fired coach Clay Helton a day later, speculatio­n swirled about Meyer’s immediate future in Jacksonvil­le.

Meyer responded Wednesday, saying “there’s no chance” he takes the Trojans job. “I’m here and committed to try to build an organizati­on,” he said.

It’s unlikely to be the last time Meyer’s name gets linked to a collegiate job opening. After all, he’s found success at every stop, building winners at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State.

He stepped down after the 2018 season and spent two years working as a college football analyst at Fox Sports. Jaguars owner Shad Khan persuaded him to return to the sideline, but little has gone right so far.

Meyer botched the hiring of two coordinato­rs (Chris Doyle, Brian Schneider), filled his staff with longtime NFL types instead of coaches who know his wants and ways, invited Tim Tebow to training camp as a tight end and had No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence split valuable first-team repetition­s in training camp with a quarterbac­k no longer on the roster.

He raised eyebrows last week when he mistakenly identified Joe Mixon as Houston’s running back and again this week when he couldn’t come up with the name of his backup swing tackle, Will Richardson.

At best, Meyer looked like a stretched-thin coach wading into uncharted waters. At worst, he was in too deep.

“I was warned many, many, many, many times: It’s a journey, it’s not a sprint,” he said. “We’re healthy, attitudes are good, we have good players, and we’re building something.”

Meyer said this month that he doesn’t miss college recruiting and made it clear how much college football has changed since he stepped down.

BROWNS: Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. won’t make his debut Sunday against Houston.

Coach Kevin Stefanski said Beckham, recovering after tearing an ACL in October, will practice on a limited basis this week.

Beckham was expected to play in the season opener at Kansas City. However, after going through pregame warmups, the three-time Pro Bowler told the Browns he couldn’t be on the field for the number of plays they wanted, and he was ruled inactive.

Stefanski reiterated that Beckham has not suffered any setbacks and that the decision to make him inactive after he practiced all week wasn’t out of the ordinary.

SAINTS: Coach Sean Payton shed more light on the group of offensive coaches who contracted the coronaviru­s.

Payton didn’t identify by name any of those who had tested positive, and their names were not expected to be released in the short term because of medical privacy laws. But he later indicated that they included an offensive line coach, a receivers coach, a running backs coach and two tight ends coaches. Payton also said the team’s nutritioni­st and a player had tested positive.

Payton said all are vaccinated. On Tuesday, wide receiver Michael Thomas — who was already out for the first six games while on the club’s physically unable to perform list — was placed on New Orleans’s covid-19 reserve list.

JETS: Wide receivers Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole are expected to return this week, with both possibly able to play in the home opener Sunday against the New England Patriots.

Crowder, who is vaccinated, has been on the covid-19 list. He’s been working through symptoms, but he should be cleared Thursday. Before testing positive, he was also dealing with a groin injury, which Coach Robert Saleh said is no longer an issue.

Cole injured his knee in practice last week and sat out the opener. He is back to practicing on a limited basis.

COWBOYS: Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence broke a foot in practice and is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Dallas’s other starting defensive end, Randy Gregory, is out after testing positive for the coronaviru­s. Coach Mike Mccarthy didn’t seem optimistic when asked if Gregory could face the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

Lawrence, who is in the third year of a five-year, $105 million contract, missed the first eight games of his rookie season in 2014 after breaking a foot in training camp.

Without Lawrence and Gregory, Dorance Armstrong and Tarell Basham are the projected starters.

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