Joe Cullen

2024 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

After a crowded carousel previously stopped, the 49ers opened their defensive coordinator position. Here is how the NFC champions’ search looks:

Updated 2-28-24 (3:10pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dave Ragone)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Ken Dorsey)

  • Joe Brady, interim offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (Bills): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed

Carolina Panthers (Out: Thomas Brown)

  • Marcus Brady, senior offensive assistant (Eagles): Interview requested
  • Brad Idzik, wide receivers coach (Buccaneers): Hired

Chicago Bears (Out: Luke Getsy)

Cincinnati Bengals (Out: Brian Callahan)

  • Andy Dickerson, offensive line coach (Seahawks): To interview
  • Dan Pitcher, quarterbacks coach (Bengals): Promoted

Cleveland Browns (Out: Alex Van Pelt)

Las Vegas Raiders (Out: Mick Lombardi)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Kellen Moore)

New England Patriots (Out: Bill O’Brien)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Pete Carmichael)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Brian Johnson)

  • Jerrod Johnson, quarterbacks coach (Texans): Interviewed
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Interviewed 1/23
  • Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator (Chargers): Hired

Pittsburgh Steelers (Out: Matt Canada)

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Shane Waldron)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Dave Canales)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Tim Kelly)

  • Nick Holz, passing game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed
  • Eric Studesville, associate head coach/running backs coach (Dolphins): Interview requested

Washington Commanders (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Chip Kelly, former head coach (Eagles/49ers): On team’s radar
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Hired

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Ryan Nielsen)

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Mike Macdonald)

  • Zach Orr, inside linebackers coach (Ravens): Promoted

Buffalo Bills

  • Bobby Babich, linebackers coach (Bills): Promoted
  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Sean Desai, former defensive coordinator (Eagles): To interview

Chicago Bears (Out: Alan Williams)

  • Joe Barry, former defensive coordinator (Packers): To interview 1/27
  • Chris Harris, secondary coach (Titans): To interview
  • Eric Washington, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Bills): Hired
  • Terrell Williams, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Titans): To interview

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Dan Quinn)

Green Bay Packers (Out: Joe Barry)

Jacksonville Jaguars (Out: Mike Caldwell)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Derrick Ansley)

  • Jesse Minter, defensive coordinator (Michigan): Hired

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Raheem Morris)

Miami Dolphins (Out: Vic Fangio)

New England Patriots

  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Promoted
  • Michael Hodges, linebackers coach (Saints): To interview
  • Tem Lukabu, outside linebackers coach (Panthers): To interview
  • Christian Parker, defensive backs coach (Broncos): Interviewed

New York Giants (Out: Don Martindale)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Sean Desai)

  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Vic Fangio, former defensive coordinator (Dolphins): Hired
  • Ron Rivera, former head coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/22

San Francisco 49ers (Out: Steve Wilks)

  • Daniel Bullocks, defensive backs coach (49ers): Interviewed 2/28
  • David Merritt, defensive backs coach (Chiefs): To interview
  • Nick Sorensen, defensive passing game specialist (49ers): Interviewed
  • Brandon Staley, former head coach (Chargers): Interviewed

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Clint Hurtt)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Shane Bowen)

  • Brandon Lynch, cornerbacks coach (Browns): Interviewed 1/30
  • Dennard Wilson, defensive backs coach (Ravens): Hired

Washington Commanders (Out: Jack Del Rio)

  • Joe Cullen, defensive line coach (Chiefs): Considered a candidate
  • Joe Whitt, defensive backs coach (Cowboys): Hired

Michigan To Hire Don Martindale For DC Job

FEBRUARY 9: Michigan is indeed set to hire Martindale for the DC post, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. He will take over a Wolverines defense which has helped Macdonald and Minter land NFL gigs as he looks to rebuild his pro coordinator stock following an unceremonious Giants departure.

FEBRUARY 7: Don Martindale interviewed for multiple defensive coordinator jobs during this year’s hiring period, but the final two teams in need at this position — the Cowboys and Seahawks — do not have the recent Giants coordinator on their respective radars.

As a result, Martindale looks to be considering coaching in college. After seeing DC Jesse Minter follow Jim Harbaugh to Los Angeles, Michigan is eyeing Martindale — per 247Sports.com’s Matt Zenitz — to run its defense. Martindale’s right-hand man with the Giants, Drew Wilkins, is also drawing consideration in the college ranks, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets, adding that Martindale is a serious candidate for the Michigan job.

[RELATED: Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker]

Martindale, 60, has not coached at the college level since being Western Kentucky’s DC in the early 2000s. The Broncos, Ravens and Giants subsequently employed Martindale as their DC since 2010. After a successful stint in Baltimore, Martindale did not prove a fit in New York. After helping Brian Daboll to a Coach of the Year campaign in 2022, Martindale feuded with the New York HC in Year 2. This came to a head when Daboll’s firing of Wilkins — a longtime Ravens assistant who followed Martindale to New York — set off the fiery DC, leading to a shouting match and Martindale resigning his post.

The Ravens hired Mike Macdonald to replace Martindale following the latter’s one-year run as the Wolverines’ DC (2021). This would make Martindale a logical fit, though his dispute with Daboll would certainly require an investigation by the team/school that hires him. Martindale and Wilkins worked as the Giants’ top assistants on defense, effectively running things on that side of the ball — sometimes without Daboll and GM Joe Schoen‘s say-so. Wilkins has worked with Martindale since 2012, when the latter arrived in Baltimore.

The Jaguars and Packers interviewed Martindale for their respective DC jobs, but each team went in a different direction. Jacksonville hired ex-Atlanta DC Ryan Nielsen, while Green Bay brought Boston College HC Jeff Hafley back to the pros. Considering the unstable college landscape, it is interesting Martindale is being connected to moving back to an NCAA gig after 20 years in the NFL.

Michigan is also considering Chiefs D-line coach Joe Cullen for its DC post, Zenitz adds. Unlike Martindale, Cullen is in consideration for one of the remaining NFL vacancies; the Seahawks have shown interest.

Chiefs’ Joe Cullen Drawing DC Interest From Seahawks

The Commanders made their defensive coordinator hire last night, tapping Joe Whitt for the position. He was joined by Joe Cullen in terms of drawing interest for the position in Washington, however.

Cullen is also on the Seahawks’ radar for their DC position, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reports. Cullen has been in Kansas City for the past two years holding the familiar title of defensive line coach. He has worn that hat on a number of occasions at both the college and NFL levels, and his time with the Chiefs has been successful.

Kansas City ranked 29th in sacks one year before Cullen’s arrival, a move which was preceded by his one-and-done stint as defensive coordinator of the Jaguars. The defending champions have posted the second-highest total in that department in each of the two seasons with Cullen in place, though. While draft investments along the edge (particularly the selection of George Karlaftis) have played a role in that turnaround, Cullen’s work has not gone unnoticed during the 2024 hiring cycle.

The 56-year-old has only one season of coordinator experience at the pro level, but he has been an NFL staffer in all but one year since 2006. Jacksonville ranked 20th in total defense and 28th in scoring under Cullen, and Seattle would be looking for better statistical showings than that in 2024 with a new DC. Clint Hurtt is out as part of the sweeping changes to the Seahawks’ staff, with Mike Macdonald taking over from Pete Carroll as head coach. Both the OC and DC spots are open in Seattle at the moment.

A shortlist of candidates to replace Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator has emerged, but Cullen is the first name linked to Seattle’s defensive coordinator posting. With the Commanders having found their preferred candidate already, the Seahawks could be in the lead to pursue Cullen, although Jones notes that Michigan is also interested. The Wolverines are likely to lose DC Jesse Minter to the Chargers as part of Jim Harbaugh‘s staff, and an opening will soon exist in Ann Arbor should that take place. Cullen could thus have a few options to consider if he wishes to take on another coordinator opportunity.

AFC Coaching Notes: Broncos, Jaguars, Chiefs

As Nathaniel Hackett continues to build his staff with the Broncos, the new head coach interviewed many of the team’s holdover position coaches this week, reports Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (via Twitter). The majority of these coaches are “pretty much on hold,” but a handful of coaches are starting to get clarity on their job security.

As Klis notes, defensive backs coach Christian Parker is one of the coaches who will return next season. The 30-year-old has had a rapid rise through the coaching ranks. Prior to getting hired as the Broncos DBs coach in 2021, he spent time as the defensive quality control coach with the Packers. Of course, Hackett was on that Green Bay staff, so there’s already familiarity between the two.

Meanwhile, long-time coach Reggie Herring won’t be retained (per Klis on Twitter). The linebackers coach had been with the organization since their Super Bowl-winning 2015 campaign. He previously spent time as the linebackers coach with the Bears, Texans (two stints), and Cowboys.

More coaching notes out of the AFC:

  • The Jaguars won’t be retaining special teams coordinator Nick Sorensen, reports Aaron Wilson (via Twitter). The former player was added to Urban Meyer’s staff last offseason. The 43-year-old previously spent time with the Seahawks, serving as assistant ST coach, assistant defensive backs coach, and secondary coach.
  • SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan tweets that Andrew Breiner could be a candidate for Doug Pederson’s new Jaguars staff, potentially as quarterbacks coach. Breiner was last in the NFL in 2020 when he was the passing game analyst for the Eagles, and he spent the 2021 campaign in the college ranks as the offensive coordinator at FIU.
  • The Chiefs have hired Joe Cullen as their new defensive line coach, with former DL coach Brendan Daly moving to linebackers coach (per a team announcement on Twitter). Cullen spent last season as the Jaguars defensive coordinator, and he had talks with the Ravens and Colts about their DC vacancies. He was a DL coach for more than a decade during stints with the Lions, Jaguars, Browns, Buccaneers, and Ravens. Daley had spent the past three seasons as the Chiefs DL coach.
  • The Bills are expected to hire Vikings offensive line coach Phil Rauscher in the same role, reports ESPN’s Courtney Cronin (via Twitter). Rauscher was one of several Vikings coaches who were given permission to seek other coaching opportunities. The 36-year-old had previous NFL coaching gigs with the Broncos and Washington.
  • Former Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly is in talks to join the Titans staff, reports ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via Twitter). Only 35, Kelly had a quick rise through the Texans organization. After starting as an offensive quality control coach in 2014, Kelly was eventually promoted to assistant offensive line coach, tight ends coach, and (ultimately) OC. He was fired by the organization after the season. Kelly has ties to Titans coach Mike Vrabel stemming from their stints in Houston.

Jaguars Part Ways With DC Joe Cullen

While much of Urban Meyer‘s staff remains under contract in Jacksonville, the organization is still moving on from one of their core coaches. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter), the Jaguars have parted ways with defensive coordinator Joe Cullen.

Cullen was hired one year ago by Jacksonville to take over as DC on Meyer‘s staff. The 54-year-old left his post as the defensive line coach in Baltimore to take the gig, though he already had experience with the Jags in that same position. He has also worked with the Buccaneers, Browns and Lions at the NFL level.

This divorce always seemed inevitable. Since the season has ended, Cullen has been connected to defensive coordinator gigs with the Ravens and Colts.

The Jaguars are still hunting for a new head coach, and there’s a good chance that hire will want to bring on their own staff. While the Jaguars parted ways with Cullen today, he’ll probably be the first of many current coaches to be let go by the organization.

Colts To Interview Joe Cullen For DC

One day after losing Matt Eberflus to the Bears, the Colts have begun their search for a new defensive coordinator. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reports (via Twitter) that they will interview Jaguars DC Joe Cullen on Saturday. 

Joel Erickson of the Indy Star tweets that the Colts will also be interviewing WFT defensive backs coach Chris Harris on the weekend. The 39-year-old had an eight-year playing career, and immediately transitioned to coaching after his retirement. He has been in Washington since 2020, after stints with the Bears and Chargers.

Cullen was hired one year ago by Jacksonville to take over as DC on Urban Meyer‘s staff. The 54-year-old left his post as the defensive line coach in Baltimore to take the gig, though he already had experience with the Jags in that same position. He has also worked with the Buccaneers, Browns and Lions at the NFL level.

Cullen was most recently named as a candidate to return to the Ravens after they parted ways with DC Don Martindale. Ultimately, Mike Macdonald got hired for that role, but Cullen is set to be one of “a number of outside candidates” the Colts will meet with.

Breer adds that Colts safeties coach Alan Williams will be among the candidates for the Bears’ DC vacancy. Given his connection with Eberflus, a move to Chicago certainly wouldn’t be surprising if it were to happen. Regardless, it was also announced recently that the Colts have parted ways with DL coach Brian Baker, who had been with the team for the past two seasons. Stay tuned for all the latest updates on the various changes to the Colts’ staff.

Ravens To Interview Jags’ Joe Cullen, Bucs’ Mike Caldwell For DC Job

Reports of Mike Macdonald‘s quick return to Baltimore may be slightly premature. The Ravens are not done discussing their defensive coordinator position, and Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen is next in line to interview.

Cullen, a Ravens defensive staffer before joining Urban Meyer‘s staff, will meet with John Harbaugh about the DC job, Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun tweets. While Macdonald was reported to be finalizing a deal, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec pushes back on that a bit, indicating that while the Michigan DC is perceived to be the top candidate, this process is not finished (Twitter link). Cullen will meet with the Ravens on Thursday, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets.

Like Macdonald, Cullen spent several seasons in Baltimore, serving as the team’s defensive line coach from 2016-20. Jacksonville endured another dreadful season, but Cullen’s defense had moments — particularly in the team’s upset win over the Bills and Week 18 victory over the Colts — during the Jags’ 3-14 season. Cullen, 54, has been an NFL assistant for the past 12 seasons. The 2021 slate was his first as a coordinator.

Buccaneers inside linebackers coach Mike Caldwell will interview for the job as well, Zrebiec tweets. The Todd Bowles lieutenant has been with the Bucs throughout Bruce Arians‘ tenure and was previously the Eagles’ linebackers coach during Andy Reid‘s final Philly seasons. An 11-year veteran linebacker, Caldwell also played on the first Ravens team in 1996.

The Ravens’ search to replace four-year DC Don Martindale has moved fast, with internal candidates (D-line coach Anthony Weaver), external options (Kris Richard, Joe Whitt Jr.) and former Baltimore staffers currently elsewhere (Cullen, Macdonald) coming up in the past few days.

Jaguars Hire Joe Cullen As DC

The Jaguars have hired Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen as their new defensive coordinator, according to ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley and Dan Graziano (on Twitter). Cullen, who once served as Jacksonville’s DL coach, was Urban Meyer‘s No. 1 choice for the DC vacancy.

[RELATED: Jaguars Hire Trent Baalke As GM]

Cullen comes from the Wink Martindale coaching tree with experience spanning the league. Previous stops for Cullen also included the Buccaneers, Browns, and Lions. He also donned the headset for Indiana and Richmond at the college level.

The Jaguars’ new-look regime is coming together quickly. On Thursday morning, they officially hired ex-49ers czar Trent Baalke as their general manager. Now, they’ve got Cullen to manage Meyer’s defense. Scott Linehan and Raheem Morris were also considered for DC, though Morris has since accepted the same role with the Rams.

The Ravens, meanwhile, will have to fill multiple spots on their defensive staff. In addition to Cullen, they need replacements for linebackers coach Mike Macdonald and defensive backs coach Jesse Minter who left for UMich and Vanderbilt, respectively.

GM/Coach Notes: Broncos, WFT, Jaguars, Chargers, Dolphins

George Paton was introduced as the Broncos general manager today, and the executive gave a thoughtful response when explaining how he’d help to reestablish a winning culture in Denver.

“There’ll be no shortcuts,” Paton said (via the team website). “We’re going to embrace the day-to-day [process], we’re going to embrace the grind, and we’re going to do it together. … We’re going to be progressive, we’re going to be innovative, we’re going to be forward-thinking and we’re going to use all the information at our disposal to make the best informed decisions.”

Paton also noted the importance of hitting in the draft and being innovative in their evaluation of potential acquisitions.

“Drafting and developing players will be our foundation,” Paton said. “It’s going to be the lifeblood of this football team.”

Paton joined the Broncos on a six-year deal. Under the restructured front office, Paton and head coach Vic Fangio will report to John Elway, who will have less to do with the team’s day-to-day roster decisions.

Let’s check out some more GM and coaching notes…

  • Washington previously interviewed Eric Stokes for their open general manager vacancy, reports Jason La Canfora (via Twitter). The 47-year-old has been working in NFL front offices since 2002, including stints with the Seahawks, Buccaneers, Dolphins, and Panthers. He joined Washington as their director of pro scouting this past summer. We learned yesterday that Washington is expected to ultimately hire former Panthers GM Marty Hurne for the position.
  • Scott Linehan and Joe Cullen will interview for the Jaguars open coordinator positions this week, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). We learned of Urban Meyer‘s interest in both coaches this past weekend. Linehan, who’s candidate for the offensive coordinator gig, has had a long coaching career, including a stint as the head coach of the Rams. Cullen, a candidate for the defensive coordinator opening, has served as Baltimore’s defensive line coach since 2016. Rapoport notes that Raheem Morris was also a candidate for the defensive coordinator opening, but we’ve since learned that Morris will be taking the same role with the Rams.
  • The Chargers won’t be retaining offensive line coach James Campen, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Campen spent more than a decade with the Packers, and following a one-season stint with the Browns, Campen joined the Chargers as their offensive line coach this past offseason. However, he won’t stick around, as Schefter notes that new head coach Brandon Staley will be bringing in his own OL coach.
  • The Dolphins have parted ways with offensive line coach Steve Marshall and promoted Lemuel Jeanpierre to the role, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Marshall has spent more than a decade coaching in the NFL, and he joined Miami this past offseason. Jeanpierre has spent time on the Seahawks, Raiders, and Dolphins coaching staffs, serving as Miami’s assistant offensive line coach in 2020.

Latest On Jaguars Coaching Staff

With Urban Meyer officially joining the Jaguars as their new head coach, his staff is beginning to take shape. One name that has emerged as an offensive coordinator candidate is Scott Linehan, according to Todd Archer and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter). NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport echoes this sentiment (on Twitter), noting that Linehan “is the favorite” for the gig.

The 57-year-old Linehan has had a long coaching career, including a stint as the head coach of the Rams. He’s been an offensive coordinator with four different organizations (Vikings, Dolphins, Lions, Cowboys), and his most recent NFL gig saw him leading the offense in Dallas. After spending a year away from football in 2019, Linehan served as the passing-game coordinator for LSU in 2020.

While Meyer and Linehan have never worked alongside each other, their lengthy stints in the collegiate ranks has established a camaraderie between the two (per Fowler).

Let’s check out more coaching notes out of Jacksonville…

  • For the defensive coordinator vacancy, Meyer is eyeing Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen, with Rapoport describing Cullen as the “top target.” Cullen actually served as the Jaguars defensive line coach from 2010 and 2012. Following brief stints with the Browns and Buccaneers, the coach found a home in Baltimore. The 53-year-old has served as Baltimore’s defensive line coach since 2016, and he’s played a major role in the development of Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, and Timmy Jernigan.
  • Ryan Stamper will be joining the Jaguars as director of player assessment, per Pete Thamel of Yahoo (on Twitter). Stamper, a Jacksonville native, has spent the past nine years serving as the ‘assistant athletic director, player development’ with Ohio State. Meyer, who served as Ohio State’s head coach from 2012 through 2018, had previously made it clear that we wouldn’t poach the Buckeyes’ staff, but Stamper was apparently an exception. Stamper also played for Meyer at Florida.
  • Charlie Strong is heading to Jacksonville, likely as the team’s linebackers coach, per Brett McMurphy of Stadium (via Twitter). Following stints as head coach of Louisville, Texas, and South Florida, the 60-year-old Strong spent the 2020 season serving as a defensive analyst for Alabama.