According to a live report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on the Pat McAfee Show, the Jacksonville Jaguars have hired Ryan Nielsen to be its next defensive coordinator.
#Jaguars defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen made an instant impact in his 1 season as DC in Atlanta.— Andrew Gibson (@1010XLAG) January 22, 2024
Among areas the #Falcons improved:
—26th to 7th in yards per play allowed
—31st to 3rd in 3rd down defense
—25th to 8th in pass defense
Look forward to what he does in JAX. pic.twitter.com/stvBgBM9wk
"ATTACK. AGGRESSIVE!"— Maria Martin (@Ria_Martin) August 17, 2023
It's #Falcons DC Ryan Nielsen's mantra and has been since day 1 of arriving in Atlanta. Listening to all of these guys talk about it is a treat.
Warning: be on your toes. pic.twitter.com/chbFeWrvXp
Unbelievable quote from Jeff Okudah on the coaching style of #Falcons DC Ryan Nielsen.— Maria Martin (@Ria_Martin) July 31, 2023
"He sets the bar high as well. He demands greatness from everyone on the field. When you have someone like that you feel an obligation to not let them down." pic.twitter.com/z3VLLMDjpP
Your new Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive Coordinator. We got a real one. pic.twitter.com/5U7fyKO1sz— clay (@07_clay) January 22, 2024
The Jaguars were originally blocked by the Falcons from interviewing Nielsen, who served as Atlanta’s defensive coordinator last season. Jacksonville ultimately received permission after it became clear that the next Falcons head coach, whether Bill Belichick or not, would hire his own staff.
Nielsen previously spent six seasons with the Saints under Dennis Allen. He acted as defensive line coach from 2017-2020, then added assistant head coach to his title in 2021, then changed that title to co-defensive coordinator in 2022. Last season was Nielsen’s first as a defensive coordinator and play caller, though he continued to coach DL in the ATL.
Nielsen has coached defensive lines for 19 years straight. He was hired for that role at Ole Miss in 2005 and also coached at Central Connecticut State, UT Martin, Northern Illinois and NC State before joining the pro ranks.
Cameron Jordan, an eight-time Pro Bowler who ranks behind only Von Miller on the NFL’s list of active sack leaders, described Nielsen as “Top tier” when he took the Falcons gig last year.
Ryan to Dc job was inevitable. Top tier DL coach in terms of developing pass rush and emphasizing technique on run and gap integrity. wish him the semi-best as he willingly went to the Failcons… happy-ish for him pic.twitter.com/la3TaOW4id— Cam Jordan (@camjordan94) January 28, 2023
Plenty of the internet’s resident film experts showed their approval of the Jaguars’ hire.
Nielsen is going to fit the Jags very nicely. I love that defense he preaches. I suspect Jerry Gray won’t be far behind.— Honest NFL (@TheHonestNFL) January 22, 2024
(If a head coaching candidate with an offensive background wants to hand over the defensive keys to a good coordinator, Atlanta and Ryan Nielsen present a pretty attractive option)— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) January 8, 2024
It will be great to see trench players like Josh Allen and Travon Walker get a chance to work with Nielsen, but the real question is what the back end will look like. Nielsen’s Falcons played man coverage at one of the highest rates in the league. That isn’t a surprise, considering his experience in Dennis Allen’s man-heavy scheme.
Falcons played man defense 58.3% of the time last year, third highest in the league.— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) January 22, 2024
By comparison, the Jaguars played man just 31.8% of the time, 31st in in the league.
Major changes coming to Jacksonville's defense. Will need to add high-target CB imo. IDL important too
After former Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell and the majority of his assistants were let go, the current staff consists of Nielsen, outside linebackers coach Coach Bill Shuey, assistant defensive line coach Rory Segrest and defensive quality control coach Patrick Reilly.
A few Falcons assistants who could potentially follow Ryan Nielsen based off ties:— John Shipley (@_John_Shipley) January 22, 2024
Senior defensive asst. Dave Huxtable
Asst. head coach and defensive assistant Jerry Gray
Linebackers coach Frank Bush (coached Foye Oluokun)
Jaguars fans, how do you feel about the hire?