Jets hire Jeff Ulbrich as defensive coordinator

Garrett Stepien
·2 min read
Jeff Ulbrich Falcons
Jeff Ulbrich Falcons

The Jets introduced Robert Saleh as their new head coach Thursday afternoon. Shortly after, they revealed his defensive coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, following an explanation as to why he will not call New York's defense.

"I'm not going to be handling play-calling duties on defense," said Saleh, a defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers from 2017-20. "I've got the utmost respect and confidence in Jeff Ulbrich to be able to do that. I share the same thoughts as they (the defensive coaches) do.

"I think the head coach and the message that is trying to be deployed to everybody -- this is an organization that has to work locked in arms and work together. And to ensure that the messaging and the way we want things done, all the way across the board is there and maintaining that connection throughout -- whether it's offense, defense, special teams, business to football, somehow, someway, everyone's got to find their connection to the player and with the mindset that we're going to get these guys better every single day. And to be able to have that focus and ensure that the entire organization is moving in the direction we want, I won't be calling plays."

Defensive line coach Aaron Whitecotton, assistant defensive line coach Nate Ollie and a trio of defensive assistants -- Chip Vaughn, Rickey Manning Jr. and Hayes Pullard -- rounded out the hires after Ulbrich.

A former NFL linebacker via the 49ers from 2000-09, Ulbrich spent the past six years as an assistant with the Atlanta Falcons. Ulbrich was the linebackers coach from 2015-19 before earning a promotion to assistant head coach in 2020.

After the Falcons fired sixth-year head coach Dan Quinn Oct. 11, defensive coordinator Raheem Morris became Atlanta's interim head coach and gave Ulbrich a bump to defensive coordinator. Prior to Atlanta, Ulbrich was an assistant special teams coach with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011 and a linebackers/special teams coach at UCLA from 2012-14.