Jets’ Jeff Ulbrich Breaks Silence on Reported 49ers Job Interest

Jeff Ulbrich, Jets

Getty New York Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich reacting in the middle of his media availability.

The New York Jets could have lost a major piece of their coaching staff this offseason.

According to a report from Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic, the San Francisco 49ers and Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich had a “mutual interest in exploring a marriage.” However the Jets “made it clear that they were not going to let Ulbrich leave.”

This potential pursuit was to fill the then vacant DC role on the 49ers’ staff. Rosenblatt explained that NFL teams are allowed to “block” coaches who are under contract from taking lateral jumps to another team. For example, Ulbrich is the DC for the Jets so he couldn’t have just taken another DC role with another team without the Jets’ expressed permission.

On Tuesday, May 21 Ulbrich spoke for the first time about that report and the 49ers’ apparent interest in him.

“It’s rare in life that you come to work every day & you love what you do, you love the organization that you do it with, you love the players you get to coach. That’s what I have here. Saying all that, I’m so happy & fulfilled being in this place right now with this team, this roster, & at the same time my wife loves it, my kids love it, the area that we live in. To move from here & move on from this opportunity it would be really hard. It’d be difficult,” Ulbrich revealed.

Ulbrich Is the Secret Sauce to the Jets’ Success

When the Jets hired Robert Saleh as its next head coach in 2021 he was widely expected to be the primary play caller on defense.

However shortly after the hire became official, Saleh revealed that his top lieutenant Ulbrich would instead handle those duties.

There were plenty of early bumps in the road during that 2021 campaign. New York gave up the third most passing yards (4,409) in the league. Opposing quarterbacks threw 28 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions in that season. Those seven picks were tied for the second-fewest in the league.

New York was also terrible against the run. They gave up the fourth most rushing yards (2,351). The green and white also allowed 28 rushing scores which was by far the most in the league that season.

All of those blemishes put a lot of pressure on Saleh to make changes to his staff. However, he stuck by Ulbrich and his loyalty paid off in spades.

New York turned around the defense seemingly overnight from 2021 to 2022.

The Jets gave up the second-fewest passing yards in the NFL the very next season after giving up the third most the year before.

Ulbrich Has Desires to Eventually Become a Head Coach in the NFL

The 47-year-old didn’t garner any interest from NFL teams for any of the head coaching vacancies this offseason.

However, Ulbrich does have aspirations of eventually reaching that goal.

Connor Hughes of SNY said, “That day should be here sooner rather than later. The Jets DC is deserving of [it]. Any team would be lucky to have him.”

Saleh said back in December of 2023 that he would, “love to see” Ulbrich eventually get one of those gigs and believes he has a very bright future.

2024 might be Ulbrich’s best chance to prove he is head coaching material. The spotlight is firmly on the Jets and they will have six prime-time games and seven overall standalone games.

That could present plenty of opportunities for Ulbrich to show on a national stage that he is cut from the right stuff.

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