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Jeff Ulbrich

Defensive Coordinator

College: Hawaii

Hometown: Morgan Hills, CA

Experience: 12 years


JEFF ULBRICH (pronounced: ULL-brick) returns for his fourth season as the defensive coordinator after initially joining the New York Jets as part of Robert Saleh's staff in 2021. Ulbrich, a 10-year NFL veteran linebacker, begins his 12th season as a coach and third directing the Jets defense.

Over the past two seasons (2022-23), Ulbrich has led a defensive unit to two top five total defense finishes with a third overall (292.3) finish in 2023 and a fourth overall finish in 2022, a significant improvement from their 32nd rank and 397.6 average in 2021. Since 2000, the Jets are one of just five teams to finish in the top five in total defense a season after ranking last in the League. Their 292.3 yards per game allowed in 2023 ranked eighth in franchise history, allowing under 300 yards for just the 13th time in franchise history and the first since 2010. In addition to their top three finish in total defense in 2023, the Jets allowed just 4.6 yards per play, the lowest average in the league.

Since becoming defensive coordinator in 2021, Ulbrich's unit has allowed an average of 301.7 yards per game, the second lowest in the League.

This past season (2023), opposing drives failed to produce a first down 41.5% of the time against the Jets, the third highest percentage in the League. Opposing drives punted after failing any first downs 27.8% of the time, second best in the league and as a result, the average opposing drive lasted 5.13 plays and gained 23.5 yards, both the second lowest in the League.

Additionally, Ulbrich led a unit in 2023 that finished top five in passing defense (2nd), yards per attempt allowed (4th), completion percentage allowed (3rd), passer rating allowed (3rd) and passes defensed (2nd), while their 17 interceptions ranked tied for the eight most in the League.

Under Ulbrich's leadership this past season, cornerback Sauce Gardner become the first cornerback since the merger to be named First-Team All-Pro in each of his first two seasons (2022-23), while also being selected as a Pro Bowl starter in each of his first two seasons. Additionally, Ulbrich saw linebacker Quincy Williams earn First-Team All Pro and Team MVP honors, second-year linebacker Jermaine Johnson earn Pro Bowl honors, and former first round draft selection Quinnen Williams earn Pro Bowl honors.

In 2022, Ulbrich's defense allowed an average of just 18.59 points per game, the fourth best in the NFL and became the only team in the League to not allow a 300-yard passer. Additionally, the unit only allowed six players to hit 100 rushing or receiving yards in a game, tied for the best in the NFL. Ulbrich saw his team finish top five in the NFL in almost all defensive categories this past season.

Much of the unit's 2022 success was attributed to individual bests that were accomplished throughout the year. Ulbrich saw three key defensive players become selected to the Pro Bowl, two first team All-Pro honors, a second-team All-Pro honor and a Defensive Rookie of the Year recognition in 2022.

Defensive Lineman and 2022 Curtis Martin Team MVP Quinnen Williams recorded a career year, registering a single-season best 12.0 sacks in 2022, tied for the seventh most in a season by a Jet in franchise history. Rookie Sauce Gardner finished first in the NFL in passes defensed (20) this past season and became the only rookie in the League to produce at least one pass defense in each of his first seven games. Veteran linebacker and team captain C.J. Mosley became one of only four players in the NFL last season to record 12 games with nine+ tackles, while his 158 tackles on the year marked his sixth season registering at least 100+ tackles, one of only five active players to do so.

In his first season with the Jets (2021), Ulbrich oversaw one of the League's youngest defenses, as 63.9% of the snaps came from players 25-years old or less at the start of the year, the highest percentage in the League and the only team over 50%.

"When you're raising a young defense like we are right now, we're getting these scars, these battle wounds. I'd like to think that as much as that hurt, that failure will lead to like the defense we're trying to create here, a Championship-level defense. And when we're playing for championships here, that's going to be one of the reasons that we win them."

In "raising" his defense, the scars were visible early in the 2021 season, however over the final seven weeks, Ulbrich's group improved in points per game, yards per play, passing yards per attempt and yards per rush, all while getting valuable reps for a number of young players.

Perhaps no group epitomized the team's youth as much as the secondary as the top six snap counts among Jets defensive backs were all in their first two seasons. Throughout the League, no team had more snaps from rookie and second-year players in their secondary than the 4,468 by the Jets in 2021. Second-year cornerback Bryce Hall finished in the top 10 in passes defensed, while fellow starter, rookie CB Brandin Echols finished in the top 10 among all rookies in PDs.

Upfront, the Jets saw seven different defensive linemen register at least 15+ pressures, while Williams was one of just two players in the League in the top 10 in stop, stuff and sack percentage (according to Next Gen Stats). At linebacker, Mosley and roster reduction waiver claim Quincy Williams both recorded a single season high in tackles as Mosley, the 2021 Curtis Martin Team MVP, finished fourth in the League.

Prior to the Jets, Ulbrich spent six seasons with the Falcons, the first five as the team's linebackers coach (2015-19), before he added the title of assistant head coach (2020). In 2020, following Raheem Morris' move to interim head coach in Week Six, he became the interim defensive coordinator for the final 11 games. Under Ulbrich, the defense improved in every category: total defense, scoring defense, passing defense, rushing defense, third down defense and red zone defense, while also producing sacks and interceptions at a higher rate. In those final 11 games, the Falcons ranked in the top third of the league in opponents third-down percentage and opposing red zone touchdown percentage, while also allowing the sixth fewest rushing yards per game.

In his six seasons with Atlanta, Ulbrich has had a linebacker register 90+ tackles nine times, including by four different players: Deion Jones (four times), De'Vondre Campbell (three), Foyesade Oluokun and Paul Worrilow. Jones, a second-round pick in 2016, produced 100+ tackles in every season in which he played at least 15 games, posting 513 tackles, the eighth most in the league since 2016. Additionally, Jones, a Pro Bowler, finished in the top two among all linebackers in passes defensed (38), interceptions (11) and defensive touchdowns (5) since 2016. Oluokun, a former sixth-round pick out of Yale in 2018, finished

second behind Jones in total tackles, while also recording six forced fumbles, the most on the team in his three seasons under Ulbrich.

Originally hired as the team's linebackers and special teams coach, Ulbrich added the title of assistant head coach in the spring of his first year at UCLA (2012), spending two years in that role before becoming the defensive coordinator in 2014. In his time with the Bruins, he helped Anthony Barr convert from running back to linebacker before finishing second in the country with 13.5 sacks (2012), Myles Jack earn Pac-12 Defensive and Offensive Freshman of the Year honors (2013), and Eric Kendricks earn both the Butkus Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy after leading the nation in solo tackles per game (2014). All three players were selected in the first or second round of the NFL draft and both Barr and Kendrick have been selected as Pro Bowlers in the NFL. As a special teams coach, he joined just three other schools as the only FBS teams to finish the regular season among the top-20 nationally in both kickoffs and kickoff returns during the 2013 season.

Following his 10-year playing career, Ulbrich started his coaching career with Seattle in 2010 as special teams assistant for two seasons. During the 2010 season, kicker Olindo Mare matched the sixth-longest field goal streak with 30 straight, while the kickoff return units ranked third in the NFL and the kickoff cover group ranked fifth in the league.

A former third-round selection by San Francisco in the 2000 NFL Draft, Ulbrich played linebacker in 120 games (75 starts) over 10 seasons with the 49ers and posted 653 tackles, 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, two interceptions and 13 passes defensed, including 481 tackles between 2001-04, when he started 56 of 59 games. A starter for two seasons at Hawai'i, he was named All-WAC first-team and was a team co-captain as a senior, as he led the conference with a school single-season record 169 tackles. Prior to Hawai'i, he spent a year at Gavilan (CA) Junior College where he earned first-team All-Conference and team MVP honors after redshirting at San Jose State as a freshman.

Ulbrich and his wife, Cristina, have a daughter, Samantha, and two sons, Jax and Jace.


New York Jets | 2021-Present

Defensive Coordinator - 2021-Present

Atlanta Falcons | 2015-20

Interim Defensive Coordinator - 2020

Assistant Head Coach / Linebackers - 2020

Linebackers - 2015-19

UCLA | 2012-14

Defensive Coordinator - 2014

Assistant Head Coach / Linebackers / Special Teams - 2012-13

Seattle Seahawks | 2010-11

Special Teams Assistant - 2010-11


San Francisco 49ers (Linebacker) - 2000-09

Hawai'i (Linebacker) - 1998-99

Gavilan (CA) Junior College (Linebacker) - 1997

San Jose State (Linebacker) - 1996