Shortly after the reports that they had landed Kliff Kingsbury to call their offense, it has been reported that the Commanders have filled their defensive coordinator position, as well. Per Steve Wyche of NFL Network, Cowboys secondary coach and pass game coordinator Joe Whitt will be joining Dan Quinn and Kingsbury in Washington as the team’s new defensive coordinator. The move is now official.
This hiring comes as a bit of a surprise as Whitt was considered a heavy favorite to replace Quinn as the new defensive coordinator in Dallas. According to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Whitt was scheduled to interview with the Cowboys for their coordinator vacancy Monday. Instead, Whitt will take his first coordinator job with the team’s division rival, following his old boss to DC.
The Cowboys reportedly have interviews in the next two days lined up for defensive line coach Aden Durde, former Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, and former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. The team’s insistence on bringing in candidates with head coaching experience to replace Quinn may have been a factor in Whitt’s willingness to move on from the position without going through with his interview.
Whitt has been coaching in the NFL since 2007, after seven years coaching at the college level with The Citadel, Auburn, and Louisville. Starting as an assistant defensive backs coach with the Falcons, Whitt joined the Packers staff in 2008. Over 11 years in Green Bay, Whitt would move through the ranks from defensive quality control coach to cornerbacks coach to defensive passing game coordinator.
Following Mike McCarthy‘s dismissal from Green Bay, Whitt would detour to Cleveland where he would serve as secondary coach and pass game coordinator. He would follow up his one-year stint with the Browns with another one-year stint as secondary coach in Atlanta with Quinn. When Quinn was fired from the Falcons and joined McCarthy’s staff in Dallas, it was a no-brainer for Whitt rejoin both coaches as the Cowboys’ secondary coach and pass game coordinator.
Perhaps Whitt felt like he was being forced to choose between two divorced parents having to decide between staying with McCarthy, who served as Whitt’s head coach for all 11 years that he was in Green Bay, or following Quinn, who brought him along from Atlanta. Regardless, it’s Quinn who will reward Whitt with his first career defensive coordinator gig in Washington.