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Report: Seahawks Request to Interview Cowboys' Joe Whitt Jr. For Defensive Coordinator Opening

The Seahawks' ongoing search for Ken Norton Jr.'s replacement continues, with Cowboys defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. being the latest target for their defensive coordinator opening.

The list of candidates for the Seahawks' defensive coordinator opening continues to grow. Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the team has put in a formal request to interview current Cowboys defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr.

Whitt's coaching days began on the offensive side of the ball, but he quickly found his niche working with defensive backs. His first big break came in 2003 when he joined Bobby Petrino's staff at the University of Louisville as a cornerbacks coach. After four seasons, he followed Petrino to the NFL to be the Falcons' assistant defensive backs coach, which eventually helped springboard him into a decade-long tenure with the Packers. 

First arriving in Green Bay for the 2008 season, Whitt primarily served as the team's cornerbacks coach for eight years—bookended by one-year terms as defensive quality control coach and defesnive passing game coordinator, respectively. But after missing the playoffs in 2018, the Packers fired then-head coach Mike McCarthy and Whitt was one of the subsequent casualties. 

In each of the past three seasons, Whitt has been the defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator for the Browns, Falcons and now the Cowboys. Working under former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, he spent the 2021 campaign spearheading a Dallas secondary that led the NFL in interceptions (26) and helping develop cornerback Trevon Diggs, who accounted for 11 of those picks, into a first-team All-Pro selection. 

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As Corbin Smith of Seahawk Maven noted in response to Seattle's reported interest in Whitt, the Cowboys played the most Cover 1 with man coverage underneath than any other team in the NFL this season. They also ranked 11th with a 14.2 percent call rate of Cover 2 and 17th in Cover 3 usage at a 33.8 percent clip, per TruMedia.

With Quinn a popular head coaching candidate this offseason, Whitt may very well be in line to replace him in Dallas. However, the defensive coordinator title could also go to current senior defensive assistant George Edwards, according to Mike Fisher of CowboysSI.  

The Seahawks are certainly being thorough in their ongoing search for Ken Norton Jr.'s replacement. While Clint Hurtt and Ed Donatell still appear to be the frontrunners for the position, more possibilities continue to trickle down and it may take a while for head coach Pete Carroll and crew to sort it all out.