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Defensively Speaking: "You have the flexibility to do both…"

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach Joe Cullen wears protective arm pads while yelling instructions during NFL football training camp Saturday, July 30, 2011, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Rick Wilson)
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach Joe Cullen wears protective arm pads while yelling instructions during NFL football training camp Saturday, July 30, 2011, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Rick Wilson)

JACKSONVILLE – Joe Cullen offered little in the way of specifics Thursday.

Cullen is the Jaguars' new defensive coordinator. The occasion Thursday: his first comments to the media in that role. As expected, a major topic was scheme – and equally expectedly, Cullen opted against saying exactly what defense the Jaguars will run moving forward.

A 3-4? A 4-3?


"We're still evaluating our current roster," Cullen said.

Cullen was among four assistants on Urban Meyer's staff who spoke to the media via videoconference Thursday, the same day Meyer – hired as head coach January 14 – announced the team's 2021 coaching staff. The availabilities as expected covered a variety of topics, and we'll touch on many in the coming days on Among those topics:

A Jaguars defense that finished 31st in the NFL this past season – and while Cullen on Thursday didn't say specifically what packages and personnel the Jaguars will use in 2021, he did discuss how he will want the Jaguars to look and what he will emphasize.

"You want to be an attacking defense," Cullen said. "You've got to stop the run. A lot of people say it's a throwing league, but if it's second-and-three or third-and-one all day, you're not going to have the opportunity to get after the quarterback.

"We'll be a defense that will not only stop the run but get after the quarterback."

Cullen and assistant head coach/inside linebackers Charlie Strong both emphasized versatility and flexibility when asked whether the Jaguars might run a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme.

"The way that ball has evolved now, whether it be on a professional level or the collegiate level, you have to be very multiple on defense," Strong said. "Sometimes you can show three-down, sometimes you can show four-down, but it also goes back to the personnel. We've been evaluating our personnel here in the last few days that we've been in, so we know that we have some personnel here, but you always want to get more.

"It's going to be conversations here in the next upcoming days where we go around to each position and each position coach has a chance to talk about his personnel and what his needs are. But we're going to be very multiple and you have to be multiple just because of the way offenses are now."

Cullen, a defensive line coach for 14 NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions (2006-2008), Jaguars (2010-2012), Cleveland Browns (2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-2015) and Baltimore Ravens (2016-2020), noted that he has coached eight seasons in a 4-3 scheme (Lions, Jaguars and Buccaneers) and six in a three-four (Browns, Ravens).

"It's all tailored to the personnel you have," Cullen said. "In both schemes, you have flexibility to do both."


Meyer on Thursday addressed hiring of Director of Sports Performance Chris Doyle. Doyle, the strength-and-conditioning coach at the University of Iowa from 1999-2019, left Iowa this past June after reaching a separation agreement after a group of players spoke about mistreatment in the program. Doyle said in a statement in June that he never "crossed the line of unethical behavior or bias based on race." Meyer on Thursday he has known Doyle for close to 20 years and that he, General Manager Trent Baalke and Owner Shad Khan all vetted Doyle "thoroughly." Of Khan, Meyer said: "Shad was involved with our high-end hires and he was involved [in this one]." Meyer said he doesn't believe the allegations against Doyle will cause free agents to avoid Jacksonville. "If I was (concerned about that), I wouldn't have hired him," Meyer said adding that when he speaks to players about the issue, "I will share I vetted him. I know the person for close to 20 years and I can assure them there'll be nothing of any sort in the Jaguar facility."


Among the more notable names on the Jaguars' coaching staff: passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, a 21-year NFL coaching veteran who has served 12 seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator. Schottenheimer was the Seattle Seahawks' offensive coordinator the past three seasons. Meyer was asked Thursday about how Schottenheimer and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell – also a 21-year NFL veteran with 14 seasons as a coordinator – have meshed thus far. "We met at great lengths before Brian decided to come with us because he had other opportunities," Meyer said. "So far, after a week of having them together and being involved in those meetings, if I had to say what's my favorite thing to do right now, it would be to go sit in those offensive meetings and hear our offensive staff have conversations."

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