Per reports from ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Michael Rothstein the Jacksonville Jaguars have requested to interview two quality up-and-coming defensive coordinators, to replace the recently relieved Mike Caldwell. However, both requests have been denied by the receiving team.
#Panthers have blocked #Jaguars’ request to interview DC Ejiro Evero for Jacksonville’s coordinator job, per league sources. Carolina plans to interview Evero for its head coaching position.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 10, 2024
Evero led Panthers’ fourth-ranked total defense despite Carolina’s NFL-worst offense.
According to a source, the Falcons blocked DC Ryan Nielsen from interviewing for the open Jaguars DC job.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) January 11, 2024
Nielsen led a rejuvenation of Atlanta’s defense last season.
As both defensive coordinators are still under contract by their respective teams, they can block any lateral interviews, such as how the Jaguars did in the 2023 offseason when Press Taylor was requested for an interview by the Baltimore Ravens. As that move was a lateral move for their offensive coordinator role, the Jaguars denied the request.
With both the Panthers and Atlanta Falcons in a current hold pattern, while awaiting the hiring of a new head coach, neither team is eager to allow their up-and-coming defensive coordinators other opportunities before the incoming coach has an opportunity to first decide if they would prefer to keep them on staff.
Evero's Carolina Panthers defense allowed the fourth-fewest yards in the league and the sixth-fewest yards per play despite the team's major offensive struggles and multiple injuries within their secondary throughout the year. Nielsen’s Atlanta Falcons defense, in his first season, finished 11th in yards allowed, with a similarly struggling offense - an improvement from their 2022 27th ranking.
Depending on the outcome of each team's hiring process, the Jaguars may have a future opportunity to interview either or both, should the incoming coach already have a defensive coordinator in mind.
In giving credit where it's due, it's encouraging to see Doug Pederson and Trent Baalke targeting quality, up-and-coming options such as Evero and Nielsen.