June 15, 2024

It’s absurd that a 49ers reporter is interested in Jeff Ulbrich of the Jets for Washington.

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Though it’s simple to point fingers at Robert Saleh and the NY Jets, their defense is one area where they stand above the rest. Thanks to Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, the Jets have assembled an outstanding team that features a strong defensive line, one of the top secondaries in the league, and more.

It’s not out of the question for Ulbrich to have head coach interviews if the Jets can ride Aaron Rodgers all the way to the postseason while continuing to play excellent defense. His reputation as a top assistant has only gotten stronger after assisting with coaching in the Senior Bowl.

The San Francisco 49ers, who parted ways with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks after Super Bowl LVIII, must decide their next course of action after losing head coaching positions to Saleh and DeMeco Ryans in the previous few seasons. A 49ers writer appears to have a wish that has no basis in reality—that John Lynch will attempt to steal Ulbrich.

Tim Kawakami of The Athletic stated that Ulbrich and Indianapolis Colts coordinator Gus Bradley are his “most realistic guesses” to take over as 49ers’ DC. Kawakami justified this by pointing out that Ulbrich was a 49ers player and is still friendly with several members of the team.

Ulbrich had a rough beginning to his career, much like many of the Jets’ finest defensive players have gone from obscure names to household names. Following a lackluster tenure as Atlanta’s defensive coordinator and a dismal 2021 season, Ulbrich has developed into an aggressive and perceptive defensive strategist.

Over the last two years, New York has been close to the top of the league in points per drive, and in 2023, PFF ranked them as the No. 1 defense.

The Jets would retain the ability to refuse Ulbrich an interview because this would be a lateral move. After cutting ties with Anthony Lynn, the 49ers may extend an offer to become an associate head coach, but there’s nothing stopping Saleh and the Jets from taking similar action to maintainAt least Saleh and the Jets have some comfort in knowing that clubs may be interested in stealing his best coaches due to his defensive approach and style of play. While Ulbrich might eventually depart for a better opportunity elsewhere, accepting a position in Washington, DC, only days before the NFL Combine would be a historically unusual shock.

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