While the Detroit Lions appear to be deep into their search for the next general manager, the head coaching trail has gone a little cold. There haven’t been many rumors despite the fact the new COVID-related rules have opened up the opportunity for the Lions—and any other team looking for a new head coach—to start interviewing candidates before the season has even started.
By now, we’ve all picked our favorite candidate from the likely list of coaches available. Many of you have made it known that Robert Saleh or Eric Bieniemy are atop your lists, but now it’s time to look at the other end of the spectrum.
Here in Detroit, we’ve had our fair share of coaches that were just not ready, or just not qualified enough, to be an NFL head coach. It feels like we should know all of the warning signs by now. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which NFL coaching candidate do you want the Lions to avoid at all costs?
My answer: Urban Meyer.
This isn’t just about my aversion to Ohio State, though I’d probably be lying if I said I have a perfectly unbiased opinion of him.
But this would be an absolutely awful move for the Lions. Meyer has been a phenomenal coach on the field. He led the Florida Gators to a 65-15 record over six years, including two National Championships. He led the Ohio State Buckeyes to a 83-9 record over seven years, including one National Championship.
But we know from the legacies left by Nick Saban and Chip Kelly that the jump to the next level is not always easy. At Florida and Ohio State, Meyer has been able to pluck some of the best athletes in the country, and it won’t be as easy to do so via the NFL Draft and free agency.
Of course, it’s not fair to judge Meyer by the failures of his colleagues, which brings me to the main reason why I want no part of Meyer: his character. Two weeks ago, Chris Spielman and Rod Wood talked about creating a Lions culture for a good 35 minutes. If Meyer is the kind of culture this team wants to build around, prepare for more dysfunction. Florida became notorious for players getting arrested during Meyer’s reign there. Then, of course, there was the domestic violence that he reportingly ignored or glossed over regarding his wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
He’s also an extreme hot-head on the sidelines who has dealt with multiple health issues due stress at work. That is not a strike on his character—mental health issues are serious—but it does make you wonder if he was going through those issues in a successful football environment, would an environment like Detroit’s truly be a good fit for him?
Overall, I just don’t think this would be the right fit for Meyer, despite the fact that he is a very, very successful college coach. I know you’ve got the OSU connections, Chris Spielman, but I would advise you to stay away from this one.