Saints promote Ryan Nielsen to Assistant Head Coach, per report

The New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen will be promoted to assistant head coach.

The New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen will remain with the team and receive a promotion. 

Ryan Nielsen, Saints Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line Coach

This morning, NFL Network's Jane Slater reported LSU's head coach Ed Orgeron and the school were negotiating a contract for him to become the school's defensive coordinator.

Conversely, ESPN's Mike Triplett confirmed New Orleans has retained Nielsen's services and elevated him to Assistant Head Coach. The Saints gave Nielsen a new three-year contract, and he will replace Dan Campbell, who left to take the Detroit Lions' head coaching position.

New Orleans' defensive line, especially the interior players like defensive tackles David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle, matured from Nielsen's coaching. Sheldon Rankins will become a free agent in the offseason. DT Malcom Brown has one year remaining on his 3-yr, 15M contract extension.   

Trey Hendrickson's tremendous growth as an edge rusher can be attributed to Nielsen's presence.  In 2020, he finished with 13.5 sacks and was the most surprising defensive lineman's performance of the year.

Nielsen was the defensive line/recruiting coordinator/run game coordinator at North Carolina State from 2013-2016 before joining the New Orleans Saints coaching staff.  He helped DE Cam Jordan to become an All-Pro in his first season as offensive line coach.  New Orleans defensive line prevented a 100-yard rusher for 55 straight games before Philadelphia broke their streak in Week 14.

At USC, Nielsen was a player from 1997-2001 and later coached in 2002. He spent one season with the Los Angeles Avengers in the Arena Football League in 2004 before coaching in the college ranks at Idaho (2004), Mississippi (2005-07), Central Connecticut State (2008-09), Tennessee-Martin (2010), Northern Illinois (2011-12), and North Carolina State (2013-16).