Jets' Saleh hires Jeff Ulbrich as DC, Mike LaFleur as OC
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
NEW YORK (AP) Robert Saleh is taking a CEO-type approach to his new job as New York Jets head coach by overseeing the entire team and not just one area.
The former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator announced during his introductory news conference Thursday that he hired Jeff Ulbrich to run the Jets' defense.
A major question after Saleh's hiring was whether he would make the calls on defense - similar to what former coach Adam Gase did on offense with the Jets the past two seasons.
Instead, it will be Ulbrich, a former NFL linebacker who was on Atlanta's staff and promoted to defensive coordinator under interim head coach Raheem Morris last season after Dan Quinn was fired.
Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said before the team began its search that the next coach preferably be someone who is an overall leader with a finger on the pulse of all aspects of the operation.
"I share the same thoughts as they do," Saleh said. "I think the head coach and the message that's trying to be deployed to everybody is this is an organization that has to work locked in arms and work together. And to ensure that the messaging and the way we want things done all the way across the board is there and maintaining that connection throughout - whether it's offense, defense, special teams, business to football - somehow, some way everyone's got to find their connection to the players and with the mindset that we're going to get these guys better every single day.
"And to be able to have that focus and ensure that the entire organization is moving in the direction that we want, I won't be calling plays."
Saleh also announced that Mike LaFleur, who was the 49ers' passing game coordinator the past three seasons, will be the Jets' offensive coordinator. LaFleur is the younger brother of Packers coach Matt LaFleur - who is also one of Saleh's best friends.
Also hired as part of Saleh's staff on offense: Rob Calabrese (quarterbacks), John Benton (offensive line/run game coordinator), Greg Knapp (passing game specialist), Jon "Taylor" Embree (running backs), Miles Austin (wide receivers), Ron Middleton (tight ends) and offensive assistants Mack Brown, Todd Washington and Billy Vandemerkt.
On defense: Aaron Whitecotton (defensive line), Nate Ollie (assistant defensive line) and defensive assistants Ricky Manning Jr., Hayes Pullard and Chip Vaughn.
Brown, Vaughn and Washington were retained from Gase's staff.
Saleh hasn't yet hired a special teams coordinator, but said he has received many calls on behalf of Brant Boyer who has run the Jets' unit the past five seasons.
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Updated January 21, 2021