Ryan: Capers “big part” of decision

Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Jake Ryan (47) looks over the Arizona Cardinals offense during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Jake Ryan (47) looks over the Arizona Cardinals offense during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars signed a new linebacker Tuesday.

A major reason it happened was another offseason addition: defensive assistant Dom Capers, the team’s defensive coordinator in 1999 and 2000, who was hired last month as a defensive assistant.

Linebacker Jake Ryan, a fourth-round selection by the Green Bay Packers in the 2015 NFL Draft, on Tuesday morning signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent. Ryan played for Capers from 2015-2017, with Capers serving as the Packers’ defensive coordinator from 2009-2017.

Ryan called Capers a “big part of my decision.”

“Dom has been a huge part of my life from the time I was in Green Bay,” Ryan told jaguars.com Tuesday morning. “He has helped me out a bunch. [He] kind of guided me through everything when I came in as a rookie. I played outside linebacker a little bit in college, and my senior year, I switched to inside.

“Dom kind of took me under his wing when I got to Green Bay and helped me out.”

Ryan (6-feet-2, 240 pounds), 27, who played collegiately at the University of Michigan, missed the 2018 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in training camp. He started 27 of 43 games played with Green Bay, starting five as a rookie in 2015, 10 in 2016 and 12 in 2017.

Ryan said he was “pretty far along” in his rehabilitation.

“I have been doing my linebacker drills – cutting, running, doing as much as I can,” he said. “[I am] trying to get back as fast as I can, but just taking it day by day and trying to get back as fast as I can.”

Ryan, who has recorded 213 tackles with a sack and three passes defensed in three full NFL seasons, will join a Jaguars defense that ranked second in the NFL in yards allowed in 2017 and fifth last season.

“They are fast – great D-line, great secondary,” Ryan said. “I just want to come in and make an impact. I am just here to help.”

The Jaguars currently have eight linebackers on the roster: Ryan, starting middle linebacker Myles Jack, starting weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith starting strong-side linebacker Leon Jacobs, Nick DeLuca, Blair Brown, Christian Kuntz and Donald Payne.

Ryan became the fifth UFA signed by the Jaguars since free agency opened last Wednesday. The others: tight end Geoff Swaim, offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, wide receiver Chris Conley and quarterback Nick Foles.

“It’s huge,” Ryan said of the team signing Foles last week. “Nick, I think is a great addition to this program. I actually know Nick. We have the same agent and everything. Knowing what he brings to the table, I think he’s a great fit for this organization and I think you guys are going to love him.”

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