Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has been, as he says it, "knee-deep" in putting together a coaching staff since officially joining the team last week. According to multiple reports, one of those most important pieces looks to be secured.
ESPN's Dan Graziano and Jamison Hensley reported Thursday that Meyer would be hiring Baltimore Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen as defensive coordinator. Cullen would replace Todd Wash, who was the team's defensive coordinator from 2016-2020.
If Cullen's hire is made official, it would actually be his second stint in Jacksonville. He previously served as the team's defensive line coach under Jack Del Rio from 2010-2012. This would be his first NFL coordinator job, but he has over a decade of NFL experience as an assistant coach.
Cullen has spent the last five years as Baltimore's defensive line coach. During that time, the Ravens never finished lower than 9th in total defensive DVOA. Cullen's coaching history is below.
- Massachusetts (1990) : Running backs coach
- Massachusetts (1991) : Defensive line coach
- Richmond (1992–1996) : Defensive line coach
- Richmond (1997–1998) : Defensive coordinator
- LSU (1999) : Defensive line coach
- Richmond (2000) : Defensive coordinator
- Memphis (2001) : Defensive line coach
- Indiana (2002–2003) : Defensive line coach
- Indiana (2004) : Defensive coordinator
- Illinois (2005) : Defensive assistant
- Detroit Lions (2006–2008) : Defensive line coach
- Idaho State (2009) : Defensive line coach
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2010–2012) : Defensive line coach
- Cleveland Browns (2013) : Defensive line coach
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014–2015) : Defensive line coach
- Baltimore Ravens (2016–2020) : Defensive line coach
Cullen could potentially bring a change in defensive scheme for the Jaguars, which would likely be welcomed by many in the fan base and in TIAA Bank Field considering the Jaguars have operated under the same defensive system since 2013 when Gus Bradley was hired as head coach.
Jacksonville's defense has a few key players already on the roster in linebackers Myles Jack and Joe Schobert, defensive ends Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson, and cornerback CJ Henderson, but the unit badly needs a revamp after a 2020 season that saw it plagued by injuries and poor play. Jacksonville's defense finished ranked 31st in yards and points allowed per game, first downs allowed, defensive DVOA, defensive pass DVOA, and net yards gained per pass attempt.
The Jaguars reportedly were also attempting to hire former Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator and interim head coach Raheem Morris in the same role, but Morris was announced on Thursday as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams.
Meyer said on Thursday that he would decline to get into any specifics about his coaching staff, which he said at his introductory press conference was his first priority. The Jaguars have been linked to numerous assistant coaches on both sides of the ball, but no hire other than Meyer's has been made official by the team.
"Next week I’d like to … we’ll give a deep dive into what’s taken place, because there has been no finality on where we are at as a coaching staff. So I would like to hold onto that until next week because there has been nothing set in stone yet," Meyer said.
Meyer reportedly has also made additions to his support-staff. Brett McMurphy of Stadium, said last Friday that former Texas, Louisville, and USF head coach Charlie Strong will join the staff likely as a linebackers coach, while Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reported Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator Chris Ash is expected to be a member of the staff as a position coach. It was also reported that Ryan Stamper and Fernando Lovo would join Meyer in Jacksonville.
"I’ve got to get a great staff, not a good staff, a great staff. And when people are recommended, I’ve had a multitude of people calling and my comment is to save the recommendation unless you feel that person is elite in all areas," Meyer said. "Because that’s what Jacksonville deserves and that’s what we’re going to have on our staff."