Bobby Engram

Ravens Request Interview With Joe Whitt Jr. For DC Job

The Ravens have an unexpected vacancy at defensive coordinator after electing to part ways with Don Martindale, and the club’s first interview request has gone out. Per Steve Wyche of the NFL Network (via Twitter), Baltimore has requested an interview with Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator/secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr.

This is the second interview request for Whitt, as the Seahawks also want to have a summit with the 43-year-old for their own DC post. Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is generating plenty of head coaching interest for his efforts in revamping Dallas’ defense in 2021, but it seems rival clubs also appreciate Whitt’s role in that turnaround.

Of particular interest to the Ravens is the fact that the Cowboys forced a league-best 34 turnovers last season, including 26 interceptions. Though Baltimore’s myriad injuries — including an ACL tear suffered by takeaway savant Marcus Peters just before the season started — certainly contributed to the team’s meager 15 takeaways (tied for third-fewest in the league), head coach John Harbaugh obviously wants a coordinator with a plan for dramatically increasing that total.

Whitt joined the Falcons as an assistant DBs coach in 2007, then spent 11 seasons in Green Bay, first as a defensive quality control coach, then as cornerbacks coach, then as defensive passing game coordinator. His recent history has been more nomadic, as he spent one year each with Atlanta, Cleveland, and Dallas from 2019-21, all as defensive passing game coordinator/secondary coach. However, he would be in line for a promotion to Cowboys defensive coordinator if Quinn should leave for an HC gig.

In addition to some of the names mentioned as possible Martindale replacements in yesterday’s report on the matter — like Joe Cullen, Mike Macdonald, and Chris HewittJeff Zrebiec of The Athletic discusses the viability of candidates like Jim Leonhard and Mike Zimmer. Zimmer, recently fired as HC of the Vikings, has generally fielded top defenses throughout his tenure as an NFL coach, but it’s unclear if he wants to become a coordinator right away, especially as he has no prior ties to Harbaugh.

Leonhard, meanwhile, was a key contributor on Harbaugh’s first Ravens team in 2008, and he has established himself as a quality defensive coordinator over the past few seasons at Wisconsin, his alma mater. But Harbaugh may want someone with prior NFL coaching experience, and Leonhard may want to stay where he is; he reportedly turned down the chance to become the Packers’ DC last year.

In related news, it sounds like Wisconsin is trying to pry Ravens tight ends coach Bobby Engram from Baltimore and hire him as its new OC. Per Tom VanHaaren of ESPN.com (via Twitter), an agreement between the Badgers and Engram could be finalized soon, leaving the Ravens with a need for a new coach to lead Mark Andrews & Co.

Coaching Rumors: Browns, Eagles, Jets, Bucs

Former Packers defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt will join the Browns‘ staff, according to Zac Jackson of The Athletic (Twitter link). Whitt, who had offers from other clubs, will take the same title in Cleveland, tweets Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.The Browns haven’t been shy about adding ex-Packers to their staff, as they already have John Dorsey, Eliot Wolf, and Alonzo Highsmith in their front office. Whitt, 40, interviewed for Green Bay’s defensive coordinator job in January 2018, and was at one point considered the favorite to land the role. But Whitt, who was the Packers’ cornerbacks coach at the time, lost out to external candidate Mike Pettine, and was subsequently given an elevated title. Whitt will now reunite with Browns safety Damarious Randall, who was a Packers second-round pick in 2015.

Here’s more from the coaching carousel:

  • After losing to the Saints in the Divisional Round, the Eagles have begun to experience staff turnover. The contracts of defensive line coach Chris Wilson and assistant offensive line coach Eugene Chung have expired, while wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer has been told he can leave for other NFL opportunities, report Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter links). None of three coaches will return to Philadelphia in 2019. Wilson and Chung had been with the Eagles since 2016, while Brewer just joined the club this past offseason.
  • Now that Gregg Williams has officially been hired as the Jets‘ defensive coordinator, he’s expected to bring his son Blake aboard as linebackers coach, tweets Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Blake has followed his father to nearly every one of his NFL stops. Meanwhile, New York is expected to retain at least a few members of its previous defensive staff even now that its hired Williams. Former Dolphins defensive line coach Kris Kocurek was a candidate for the same job with the Jets, but he was quickly scooped up by the 49ers.
  • Freddie Kitchens has added another coach to his Browns staff, hiring Tennessee assistant to the head coach John Lilly as the club’s new tight ends coach, according to Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). He’ll work with former first-round pick David Njoku, plus other Cleveland tight ends such as Seth Devalve and Darren Fells. Lilly served as the Rams’ tight ends coach in 2016.
  • The Ravens are searching for a new running backs coach after Thomas Hammock was hired as Northern Illinois’ new head coach, tweets Brett McMurphy of Stadium Network. The 37-year-old Hammock — a NIU alum — joined Baltimore in 2014, and last season led a backfield with options like Gus Edwards, Alex Collins, Kenneth Dixon, and Javorius Allen. The Ravens also announced that they’ve shifted Bobby Engram from receivers coach to tight ends coach.
  • The Buccaneers convinced Bruce Arians to come out of retirement and become their head coach earlier this month, but Tampa Bay’s interest in Arians actually dates back far further. Arians was a Bucs target for offensive coordinator in 2012 after he was fired by the Steelers, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com indicated on his podcast (Twitter link via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times).