AFC South: Charlie Jackson

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

We haven't had a chance to really examine at Jack Del Rio's hires, so I thought I'd take a closer look at the new Jacksonville assistant coaches.

Del Rio had seven holes on his staff after expired contract, defections and dismissals. He's certain to still fill one of the spots that remain -- defensive backs coach-and likely to fill another -- assistant strength and conditioning coach. But two others -- assistant wide receivers coach and defensive assistant -- may not be filled since Del Rio's newcomers include a quality control coach and a defensive line assistant, positions that did not exist on the 2008 staff.

A look at the new assistants:

  • Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, 36, previously served as defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2008 after three seasons as the team's defensive backs coach. The Wisconsin graduate also has eight years of collegiate experience with four years at Ohio State University.

With the Browns he headed a 3-4 defense. But his one season as coordinator was under a head coach, Romeo Crennel, with a defensive background who was working to hold on to his job. Tucker now faces a similar scenario under Jack Del Rio. There has been speculation about changing to a 3-4, but such a process takes the sort of time Del Rio doesn't have and while it could suit a young player like Quentin Groves it wouldn't fit a veteran like John Henderson.

I wouldn't expect a scheme change.

  • Strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson spent the last nine years at Athletes' Performance, where he designed and implemented programs to help athletes preparing for the NFL Combine and also readied NFL veterans for the rigors of the season. From 2001-2008, Richesson and the integrated API performance team helped the performances of over 214 draftees, including 116 first day picks and 44 first-round selections.

Del Rio said in his season wrap-up press conference that he wanted his players committed to the team's offseason program. Clearly the hope is Richesson's program will help convince players to stay in Jacksonville more in the offseason and provide them with the sort of training that some of them have found on their own back in their hometowns.

Richesson is married to Anita-Nall Richesson, who won three swimming medals in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

  • Special teams coach Russ Purnell, 60, previously served as special teams coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts under Tony Dungy. The Whittier College graduate has extensive NFL experience with Seattle, Tennessee and Baltimore as well as Indianapolis. He was with the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl.

Purnell will now work for his third team of the AFC South roster. While his replacement in Indianapolis has not been hired, many felt he benefited from the Dungy's loyalty during his seven seasons with the Colts.

  • Defensive line assistant Charlie Jackson, 32, spent the past two seasons with the Denver Broncos as a defensive coach and was with the Green Bay Packers in 2005. The U.S. Air Force Academy graduate has five years of collegiate experience and enters his fourth season in the NFL with the Jaguars.

The Jaguars are counting on the development of Derrick Harvey and Groves, their top two draft picks last season, and giving defensive line coach Ted Monachino an assistant is certainly aimed at least in part at making sure the second year jumps are what the team expects.

  • Quality control coach Johnny Cox spent the past season at Holy Cross as wide receivers/special teams coach. The Fort Lewis graduate has over a decade of collegiate coaching experience including three seasons coaching wide receivers at North Dakota State.

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

Houston Texans

Nada, sorry.

Indianapolis Colts

Bob Kravitz wonders if the Colts got rid of the right assistant coaches.

Jacksonville Jaguars

An I-was-wrong-alert. I thought the Jaguars might hire Mike Trgovac when he decided to leave Carolina, because he and Jack Del Rio are friends. But Trgovac landed in Green Bay as defensive line coach. Vito Stellino reports it's official: Mel Tucker is the new defensive coordinator, Russ Purnell is the new special teams coach, Charlie Jackson is the new defensive line assistant, Luke Richesson is the new strength coach and Johnny Cox is the new quality control coach.

Gene Frenette says the Jaguars should take the best available player with the eighth pick in the draft and expects Jack Del Rio will be running the defense no matter who's the coordinator.

Tennessee Titans

Michael Griffin has big plans for big improvement in the offseason, writes Jim Wyatt.

Wyatt thinks Jeff Fisher is leaning to Chuck Cecil over Dave McGinnis for defensive coordinator. I agree and think the announcement hasn't come because Fisher wants to get his other ducks in a row first.

A look at the free agents in the Titans defensive backfield from Gary Estwick.