Jets new head coach Robert Saleh is bringing along an old friend as his defensive coordinator.
Saleh announced during his introductory press conference on Thursday that Jeff Ulbrich will be New York's defensive coordinator this season, a hire that was confirmed later in the afternoon by the Jets.
Ulbrich was the Atlanta Falcons interim defensive coordinator this past season, taking over when Raheem Morris became the team's head coach in October. He had spent the previous five years as Atlanta's linebackers coach. Ulbrich played 10 seasons in the NFL—all with the 49ers—before retiring after the 2009 season.
The 43-year-old first worked with Saleh under head coach Pete Carroll in Seattle. Ulbrich's first coaching gig in the NFL was as an assistant special teams coach with the Seahawks from 2010-2011. In his second year, Saleh was added to the staff as a defensive quality control coach.
Further, although Saleh is a defensive-minded coach—after spending four years as the 49ers defensive coordinator—Ulbrich will be the one calling plays this year on that side of the ball.
"I'm not going to be handling play calling duties on defense," Saleh revealed during his presser. "I've got the upmost respect and confidence in Jeff Ulbrich to be able to do that."
Other than Ulbrich, New York announced the addition of five different defensive assistants on Thursday:
- Defensive Line Coach – Aaron Whitecotton
- Assistant Defensive Line – Nate Ollie
- Defensive Assistant – Chip Vaughn
- Defensive Assistant – Ricky Manning Jr.
- Defensive Assistant – Hayes Pullard
The Jets also confirmed that Mike LaFleur will serve as New York's offensive coordinator. LaFleur worked on the same coaching staff as Saleh in San Francisco as the 49ers passing game coordinator over the last three seasons.
Here are the nine assistants that will work under Saleh and LaFleur on the offensive side in 2021, also announced officially on Thursday:
- Quarterbacks Coach – Rob Calabrese
- Offensive Line – John Benton
- Running Backs Coach – Jon "Taylor" Embree
- Tight Ends Coach – Ron Middleton
- Wide Receivers – Miles Austin
- Passing-Game Specialist – Greg Knapp
- Offensive Assistant – Todd Washington
- Offensive Assistant – Billy VandeMerkt
- Offensive Assistant – Mack Brown