During the 2020 season, the New York Jets not only imploded on the field but off the field as well and in the coaching offices. Then-head coach Adam Gase was essentially married to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and their relationship turned sour by mid-season. In reality, Gase removed himself from defensive decision making and Williams put forth his vision for the defense in contradiction to Gase’s often-chaotic Sunday game plans, as seen in the now-infamous “Cover Zero” call against the Las Vegas Raiders which cost them the game.
The good news on all fronts is that the 2020 season is long over both on and off the field. With a new head coach in Robert Saleh, one of his first direct hires was to bring in a familiar face in the form of Jeff Ulbrich. Both Saleh and Ulbrich worked together in Seattle and Ulbrich brings an impressive defensive resume as a player and a coach to the Jets. Ulbrich, a ten year NFL veteran LB who played his career with the 49er’s, played in 120 game (75 as a starter) and amassed 501 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and six forced fumbles during his playing career. Ulbrich’s NFL career immediately lends credibility to his defenisve play calling. From 2015 to 2020, Ulbrich was the linebackers coach and ultimately the DC with the Atlanta Falcons before being hired by former coaching colleague Robert Saleh this past January.
Jeff Ulbrich brings a hard-nosed level of coaching built on a lifetime of playing experience and that passion should immediatley translate to the Jets defense. However, Ulbrich also brings a solid reputation as a teacher first with his ability to help develop players and the Jets defensive unit should see sound improvement from the front four to the secondary. As a former player, Ulbrich also brings a mentality of keeping the defensive schemes simpler and allowing the players, as professionals, to make more of their own adjustments rather than controlling all of the game tempo from the sidelines. Robert Saleh as the head coach with Jeff Ulbrich as the DC should bring a new level of both excitement and competency to the Jets and will have an absolutely positive affect on the Jets on-field performance this upcoming season. As Saleh explains: (the hiring of Jeff Ulbrich as DC “is going to be a good marriage in terms of not only philosophy but scheme.” Robert Saleh, June 4, 2021