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Jaguars hire former Falcons DC Ryan Nielsen

We now know one person who WON’T be the Falcons’ defensive coordinator next season.

Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

So much about the Falcons’ 2024 coaching staff is up in the air right now, but we know know for sure who won’t be the team’s defensive coordinator this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired Ryan Nielsen to take over as Jacksonville’s defensive coordinator.

Nielsen was hired by the Falcons prior to the 2023 season and oversaw the strongest defensive performance we’ve seen from this team in years, despite losing the heart and soul of the unit, Grady Jarrett, to a torn ACL early in the season. Atlanta finally landed in the middle third of the league at season’s end with 42 sacks — literally double 2022’s total of 21.

We won’t have a strong idea of who the Falcons’ next defensive coordinator could be until the head coach vacancy is filled. Matt Patricia has been rumored to be Bill Belichick’s pick if he accepts the Falcons job, and Patricia is no longer under contract with the Philadelphia Eagles and has said he is exploring other opportunities this offseason.

Nielsen was the one coach I was really hoping the Falcons would lock up despite Arthur Smith’s departure, but here we are. Wishing him the best in Jacksonville.