Jaguars safety coach Joe Danna is in his third year with the team, hired alongside head coach Doug Marrone. He spent the first two years of his tenure with the team as an assistant with the secondary, this year being his first coaching the safeties.
This year presents an interesting change from previous years as the Jaguars safety position has experienced an overhaul, neither of the two safeties that started at the beginning of last season are still on the team. Second year man Ronnie Harrison in his second year and takes over for departed Barry Church, and Jarrod Wilson is now replacing Tashaun Gipson.
Danna spoke highly of Harrison when asked to explain what they saw from the then-rookie when they decided to make the change to Harrison in the middle of last year. “Ronnie has all of the physical traits to be a very good safety in this league…he’s got size, he’s got length, he’s got very good athletic ability, he’s tough, he’s a willing tackler…all of those things are why we drafted him in the first place. He hasn’t disappointed from that standpoint.”
Danna also had good things to say about Wilson. “This is his fourth year,” he said, after being asked what made them confident enough to slip Wilson in the starting lineup without even considering drafting a guy at his position. “You want to talk about a guy that has excellent familiarity with our system? He knows it as good as anybody, he’s like a coach on the field…We think he’s got a chance to have a good year as well.”
There are high expectations for the safety position this year as the defense seeks to return to the level of performance they experienced in 2017, and Danna seems hopeful that the young starters will live up to those expectations. To hear more of my exclusive interview with Joe Danna, including how Nick Foles helps the development of the safeties and what a successful season looks like for the position group, listen below.