Report: Jags hiring Ryan Nielsen as defensive coordinator

League: NFL

Posted on: 22 Jan, 2024 at 06:22 PM

Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are hiring Ryan Nielsen as their new defensive coordinator, ESPN reported Monday.

Nielsen, 44, held the same position for the Atlanta Falcons in 2023, overseeing a unit that improved from 27th to 11th in total defense and from 23rd to 18th in scoring defense from the 2022 campaign. The Falcons also doubled their sack total from 21 to 42.

Nielsen became available when the Falcons fired head coach Arthur Smith after a third straight 7-10 season.

He replaces Mike Caldwell in Jacksonville. Jaguars coach Doug Pederson fired Caldwell and much of his defensive staff on Jan. 8, one day after a 28-20 Week 18 loss at Tennessee knocked the Jags out of the playoff picture.

Before Atlanta, Nielsen spent six seasons (2017-22) with the New Orleans Saints. He was the assistant head coach there in 2021 and the co-defensive coordinator in 2022.

Jacksonville (9-8) finished 17th in scoring defense and 22nd in total defense in 2023, including 26th against the pass.

--Field Level Media