Sometimes, people need to take a chill pill. The latest criticism of Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer came from a press conference following a mini-camp practice session. Meyer announced that Travis Etienne took all of his practice reps at wide receiver. “Worst case scenario,” Meyer commented, “you have a running back that’s elite with receiver skills.”
In the same press conference, Meyer revealed that the Jaguars had hoped to select Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney at 25th overall, but the New York Giants instead selected him at the 20th spot. Media and analysts connected this to Etienne taking all of his reps at wide receiver. Again, social media experts rushed in to explain why Meyer was an idiot.
“Urban Meyer forcing Etienne into a Percy Harvin role,” Ben Gretch from OddsChecker wrote on Twitter, “when he already has [Laviska Shenault] on the roster and potentially ruining the upside of two great prospects was more or less exactly what I expected when Urban Meyer got an NFL head coaching job.”
Travis Etienne isn’t switching to wide receiver
Truly, people are overthinking this dramatically. Minicamp has always been when most veterans aren’t there, so teams experiment with different things. Meyer’s statement about the “at worst” situation shows that, clearly, it was a part of the evaluation process. Meyer has always been innovative with his schemes. Now he’s evaluating the talent that he has.
Much of the criticism that Meyer has taken for this is from people who aren’t familiar with the offseason process. AJ Schulte, an NFL Draft analyst for The Pro Football Network, pointed out that running back Najee Harris (selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers a pick before Etienne) also took wide receiver reps in minicamp with no criticism to head coach Mike Tomlin.
People, relax. Travis Etienne isn’t about to switch to wide receiver. Meyer is just testing the waters and seeing if there’s any upside in his role out of the slot.