JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After the Jacksonville Jaguars announced they would be moving on from Mike Caldwell on Jan. 9, the search to replace the defensive coordinator position, and the entire defensive staff, has been ongoing.
Well, the Jags have officially called off that search.
According to multiple sources, including CBSSports.com, Ryan Nielsen will officially be hired as the Jags’ next defensive coordinator.
Nielsen is relocating from the Atlanta Falcons. As a first-time coordinator with the Dirty Birds, he guided the team to just outside top-10 status in defense. This was a stark improvement from the team’s 2022 ranking as 27th total defense in the league.
Nielsen’s resume includes spending six years with the New Orleans Saints. Beginning his NFL coaching career there, he began as a defensive line coach from 2017 to 2020. His next stop was as assistant head coach in 2021 under Sean Payton, and finally as co-defensive coordinator and DL coach in 2022.
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In a statement issued by Head Coach Doug Pederson:
“We’re excited to welcome Ryan and have him lead our defense moving forward. Ryan is an outstanding football coach and his defenses with the Falcons and Saints were always fundamentally sound in both their physicality and concepts. He has the rare ability to both teach and connect with his players. He builds lasting, two-way relationships predicated on trust. He establishes accountability, first from himself, then the players. What I’ve most admired about Ryan’s defenses -- and we saw this in London back in October -- was their shared intensity and enthusiasm to get the job done and impact the game.”— Head Coach Doug Pederson
The Jaguars ranked 17th in points against (21.8 PPG), 22nd in total yards against (342,82), and only racked up 40 total sacks (ranked 25th) during the 2023 season.