JACKSONVILLE – Joe Cullen sees a lot of good happening right now.
"We've had a great offseason," he said.
Cullen, a longtime NFL defensive line coach in his first season as the Jaguars' defensive coordinator, said that's true for a number of reasons – with the first being a new direction for the coaching staff, organization and players under Head Coach Urban Meyer.
"The players have really bought into everything that we're pushing and that Coach (Meyer) is pushing in terms of what we want to do and how we want to do it," Cullen said. "The players we had and the players we brought in have just practiced their tails off.
"We're really excited about it going into [Training] Camp."
Cullen, a 15-year NFL coaching veteran who coached the Jaguars' defensive line from 2010-2012, recently joined senior writer John Oehser for this week's O-Zone Podcast. Among the primary topics: the defensive transition under Cullen, who is in his first season as an NFL defensive coordinator after five seasons as a defensive line coach with the Baltimore Ravens.
"The way I was brought up in this profession is there's one key thing you're going to see – and that's a Plus-Two mentality," Cullen said, referring to Meyer's philosophy of asking players to give "two extra" reps of whatever they're supposed to do. "If we can get that from every position on defense, just going Plus-Two and relentless effort …
"It's going to be an attacking defense from all three levels. We're going to blitz; there's no hiding that. We're going to blitz and we're going to blitz a lot of different people. We're going to rush with four. To me, you're going to see a fast, physical and attacking defense."
Cullen also discussed the importance of improving the Jaguars' run defense, a unit that has struggled the last three seasons – and that ranked 30th in the NFL last season.
"It's a passing league; everybody always says that," Cullen said. "But you've got to stop the run. At some point, you've got to be able to grab grass and be able to hunker down and stop the run. I feel like we have the ability to do what with the guys we have – not only up front, but also the linebacker level.
"We're really excited about being able to put pads on and actually see it come into place."
Cullen also discussed multiple Jaguars returning players and newcomers, including defensive linemen Dawuane Smoot, linebacker Myles Jack and defensive end/linebackers Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson.
"When you carve out an edge rusher, he's what you want to carve out," Cullen said of Allen, the No. 7 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2019 NFL Draft. "He's got the height. He's got the weight. He's got the speed. He's got the length. He's got the ability to bend. He's got the ability to win on the edge or with an inside move. He can drop into coverage.
"I feel the same way about K'Lavon and the same way about [rookie edge rusher] Jordan Smith, guys like that."
To hear the entire O-Zone Podcast with Cullen, please click HERE.