Continuing our series of offseason breakdowns following the 2021 schedule release, theRams.com examines the Rams' Week 13 home opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars (SoFi Stadium, Dec. 7, 1:25 p.m. PT, CBS - TICKETS | SUITES).
The Jaguars won their home- and season-opener against the Colts, then lost their remaining 15 games to finish the year 1-15.
That overall record earned them the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but it was a close call: The New York Jets lost their first 13 games and were ahead for most of the year, but then went on a late two-game win streak to pull them out of the running and help Jacksonville clinch the top selection.
On Jan. 4, the Jaguars let go of head coach Doug Marrone, who had held the position since 2017 and been on their coaching staff since 2015.
Ten days after dismissing Marrone, Jacksonville announced it had hired former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer as its next head coach.
Meyer then unveiled his 2021 coaching staff on Feb. 11, one that is NFL-centric but also includes two other coaches with head coaching experience at the college level like himself: Former Rutgers head coach Chris Ash, who worked with Meyer at Ohio State; and former South Florida, Louisville and Texas head coach Charlie Strong, who worked with Meyer at the University of Florida.
Darrell Bevell, former offensive coordinator for the Seahawks, Vikings and Lions, was hired to the same position by Meyer. Joe Cullen was installed as defensive coordinator after spending the last five years as the Ravens' defensive line coach. Meyer's special teams coordinator was originally set to be former Seahawks special teams coordinator Brian Schneider; however, Schneider on May 21 reportedly decided to step away from the team for personal reasons, so the Jaguars hired longtime Seahawks secondary coach Nick Sorenson as Schneider's replacement.
Among their many free agency moves, the most notable ones were signing former Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin (three-year deal), former Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr.
The Jaguars' nine-member 2021 NFL Draft class was headlined by No. 1 overall pick and former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. They also used their other first-round choice (No. 25 overall, acquired in the Jalen Ramsey trade with the Rams) on Lawrence's former college teammate, running back Travis Etienne.
Meyer is in his first season as head coach of the Jaguars and as an NFL head coach. Prior to joining Jacksonville, he was a college football studio analyst for FOX Sports for three years after spending seven seasons as Ohio State's head coach. He was also the head coach at Florida from 2005-2010 and Utah from 2003-04.
What to watch for
No. 1 pick in 2021 NFL Draft comes to town
Lawrence has been describe by some experts as a generational talent and the best quarterback prospect since Stanford's Andrew Luck. Rams fans and the Rams defense will get an up-close look at him in early December.
A three-year starter for the Tigers, Lawrence led them to a national title as a freshman and national title appearance as a sophomore. Clemson qualified for the College Football Playoff in each of Lawrence's three seasons under center. He also finished his decorated career in the top five in program history in career completion percentage (66.6, second), passing touchdowns (90, tied for second), interception percentage (1.49, second), passing yards (10,098, third), total offense yards (11,041, third), touchdown responsibility (108, third) and completions (758, fourth).
In his final collegiate season, Lawrence also set a Clemson record by averaging 315.3 passing yards per game, breaking Deshaun Watson's mark from 2016 (306.2).