Jacksonville Jaguars

‘We want to help take the next step:’ Ryan Nielsen introduced as Jaguars’ defensive coordinator

Ryan Nielsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars fans, meet your new defensive coordinator. Ryan Nielsen took to the podium on Thursday to formally introduce himself to DUUUVAL. Here are some take aways from his first press conference.


1. “We’re sitting on this ride ... and I got the text from Coach Pederson.”

Timing is everything and it couldn’t have been a more imperfect time for Nielsen when he heard from Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson.

Nielsen was down in Disney World for a family vacation back in January. He had just hopped on the “It’s a Small World” ride when his phone went off. He opened a text message from Coach saying, ‘Hey Ryan, it’s Coach and we’d like to talk to you.’ Nielsen turned to his wife asking how long the ride was going to be so he could make a call. The ride takes around 15 minutes, but for Nielsen, it might as well have been an eternity. He eventually managed to call Coach back and the family trip took a detour north to Jacksonville for the interview process.

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2. “When you’ve got a guy like that, you want him back”

One of the biggest offseason storylines for the Jaguars is what they need to do to keep Josh Allen before he hits the market in free agency.

While the new DC isn’t involved in the contract process, Nielsen has expressed his interest in keeping number 41 and getting to work with the outside linebacker.

“I’d be really excited if that works out. Really excited to work with him, heard nothing but great things. I talked to Josh and he’s been fantastic. That’ll get worked out, get him back and get him going, hopefully get him to improve. That’s the ultimate goal, if we can just get that much better next year, what does that look like? That’s pretty exciting.”

Nielsen was also asked about Allen’s protege in outside linebacker, Travon Walker. He mentioned how the philosophy is to put the player in a position to have success first over scheme. That comes with the possibility of moving Walker around.

“We’re going to evaluate everything that he does well, then if he can rush inside, we’ll put him inside. If he’s a better outside rusher, we’ll keep him outside.”

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3. “I’m excited about the guys”

Nielsen takes the top-tier spot in the new defensive staff, but there are still a lot of holes to fill. He couldn’t dive too deep into who made the cut, but told the media the pieces are in place and an announcement will come soon. Nielsen did hint he worked with some of the coaches before as well as coached a few others so there will be some ties to the DC.

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4. “Tackling, takeaways, ball disruption and pursuit”

Every coach has a vision for how they want their team to run. For Nielsen, that comes in three steps.

“You have to be a good tackling defense to be a good defense. Takeaways are the number one way to limit points. Ball disruption is making the offense play not on time. We’re taking away a running lane, or making a ball bounce, or disrupting the quarterback. Then, pursuit, keeping the ball inside, proper angles, running and hitting. That’s what we’re going to be about, that’s what we’re going to stress.”

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