Jeff Ulbrich Sends Jets Message on Potentially Leaving for New Job

Jeff Ulbrich, Jets

Getty New York Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich reacting in the middle of an NFL game.

The New York Jets 2023 season may not be going according to plan, but a coach is rising from the ashes.

Gang Green defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich is garnering buzz as a legitimate NFL head coaching candidate. NFL Reporter Connor Hughes of SNY said Ulbrich should “absolutely” get consideration for a head coaching job.

“I’ve never let myself go there. I’ve always prided myself on being on my feet being where I’m at, and embracing the role that I have. But I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that there are times that I’ve thought about it [becoming an NFL head coach],” Ulbrich explained to the media.

“I played a long time in this league. Now I’ve coached a long time in this league and with that comes a lot of experience. It’s funny because I’ve never thought of the big picture, the global picture, [the way] a head coach might look at things, but I’m starting to look at the game in that way. I think a big part of that is being around some amazing leaders and people within this organization that have really helped push me in that way and made me think that way.

My vision of what I’d like to do if I were to ever get that opportunity is becoming very clear. I am very happy where I’m at and I love working here and I love the role that I’m in and I love the defense that we have and I love working for coach [Robert] Saleh, Joe Douglas, Woody Johnson, and this organization but there is a small part of me that is letting my brain entertain that at times.”

Ulbrich Appears Ready to Take the Leap From the Jets

Ulbrich, 46, is in the midst of year No. 14 of his coaching career. The former Hawaii product played for a decade in the National Football League, all for the San Francisco 49ers.

He has checked off nearly every box you’d look for from a head coaching candidate. Ulbrich has played the game, has coached at the assistant, positional, and coordinator levels.

“Obviously I’ve learned the game. I think being in this organization, being around guys like Robert Saleh, Tony Oden, Marquand Manuel, Mike Rutenberg, Aaron Whitecotton, [and] this entire defensive staff, they have all taught me an immense amount of football,” Ulbrich said.

“At the same time, I’ve just observed and offensively the approach of how to teach, how to motivate, how to connect to people, and it’s just something I’m constantly pushing myself in all of those phases to get better at. I’d like to say I’ve improved in all of those facets you know but that is probably a better question for others.”

Jets cornerback DJ Reed told Hughes that Ulbrich, “Would make an absolutely incredible, great head coach for another NFL team.”

“The Jets don’t want to lose him, but he has all of those qualities. He is a listener as much as he is a teacher. [Ulbrich] has a way of simplifying the most complex things so that they’re easy to digest,” Hughes explained.

Ulbrich Has Done Masterful Work Transforming the Jets Defense

When Ulbrich first arrived with the Jets, the stats weren’t pretty.

Gang Green finished last in points allowed (29.6), last in yards allowed (397.6), and totaled just 33 sacks which were tied for the 25th lowest amount in the league.

People were calling for his head after just his first season in 2021, but Saleh stuck by him and it proved to be the smart decision.

In those same categories, Ulbrich struggled with during 2021, they flipped overnight in 2022. He ranked top-four in points per game allowed (18.6), No. 4 in total yards per game (311.1), and his unit recorded 45 sacks which was tied for the seventh-best mark in the NFL.

Hughes pointed to his ability to develop players and his unit as a whole as reasons why he is deserving of the hype.

“Jeff Ulbrich should absolutely be involved in the head coaching cycle this offseason. It’s just a matter if someone wants to hire him and if they do, they will not be making a mistake. I think this guy would be a homerun hire,” Hughes said.

NFL Insider Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports explained why this offseason defensive-minded coaches may be getting more of the head coaching gigs this offseason.

Read More