The New England Patriots wasted no time making Jarod Mayo their head coach Friday following the departure of Bill Belichick one day prior. Not all hirings happen so quickly though. Other teams need to go through the process of interviewing candidates for an opening. Take the Jacksonville Jaguars, for example. They're in search of a replacement for Mike Caldwell. Four days after dismissing him, they haven't been able to fill the vacancy. It hasn't been for a lack of trying though.
The Jags have already been blocked twice from interviewing potential candidates for the job. First, they were denied permission to interview Ejiro Evero, the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator. They later showed interest in Atlanta Falcons' defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen but their request was blocked. While both the Panthers and Atlanta fired their respective head coaches, Evero and Nielsen remain under contract and can be blocked from interviewing for lateral jobs.
There's a chance Evero and Nielsen will remain with their team once there's a new head coach in place. For the time being, their future is in limbo. At least in Evero's case, he's garnering consideration for head coaching jobs, so his fate could be decided soon.
Working in the Jaguars' favor is that there are still plenty of worthy candidates available. Whether it's Wink Martindale, who at last signed his resignation from the New York Giants, or former head coaches such as Ron Rivera, or Mike Vrabel, it seems like Jacksonville still has ample time to land the right candidate.
Ejiro Evero or Ryan Nielsen would've been good additions to the Jaguars staff
All things considered, both Ejiro Evero and Ryan Neilsen would've been good options to fill the Jaguars' vacancy at defensive coordinator. Evero got his start as a coach at UC Davis in 2005. He made the jump to the NFL in 2007 and spent time with several teams before he began to get attention across the league as the safeties coach, and later passing game coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams from 2017-2021.
Evero then became the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator in 2022, where led one of the stoutest units in the league. With Sean Payton taking over the following year, Evero made a lateral move to the Panthers. Despite the team's record, Evero managed to get the most out of his unit. Moreover, his reputation didn't suffer a dent, and he's still highly regarded around the league.
Although Nielsen doesn't enjoy the same recognition in NFL circles as Evero, he also has a vast resume, having started at the collegiate ranks in the early 2000s. His past stops include USC, Ole Miss, and NC State. He made the leap to the NFL in 2017, joining the New Orleans Saints as their defensive line coach. He later got an assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator added to his responsibilities. Nielsen then became the Falcons defensive coordinator in 2023.
In his first and probably lone season at the helm, Atlanta ranked 18th in points allowed and 11th in total yards in the NFL. However, they were also the third-best team at preventing opponents from converting on third down at a 33.8 percent conversion rate.
In the end, the Jaguars need a coordinator who can get his players to deliver on a weekly basis. That wasn't always the case under Mike Caldwell. Whether it was blown coverages or missing tackles, the defense struggled in the second half of the season and was one of the reasons for the team's downfall. Whoever gets the job must ensure that doesn't happen moving forward.
So far, the Jaguars are 0-of-2 in their search for a coordinator. Then again, it won't matter how long it takes as long as they get the right guy.