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Ravens request interview with Cowboys’ secondary coach Joe Whitt for defensive coordinator job

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Late into the evening on Saturday, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported that the Ravens submitted an interview request with Joe Whitt — the Dallas Cowboys’ secondary coach — for their vacant defensive coordinator position.

Wyche also noted that the Seattle Seahawks are requesting to interview Whitt as well, which was originally reported on a few days ago by Tom Pelissero.

This comes in the wake of the Ravens announcing they had mutually agreed to part ways with Don “Wink” Martindale on Friday. Martindale had been the team’s defensive coordinator for each of the past four seasons but both parties allegedly agreed that it was time to move in a different direction.

Whitt was hired by the Cowboys just over a year ago as their secondary coach and pass game coordinator. It was a reunion for Whitt and Dan Quinn, as Whitt was previously on Quinn’s defensive staff in Atlanta in 2020. It was also a callback to Whitt’s first ever NFL coaching job, which was as an assistant defensive backs coach in 2007 with the Falcons.

Whitt served as the Falcons’ secondary coach in 2020 before moving on to Dallas this past year. The Cowboys were Whitt’s third team in the past three seasons. In 2019, Whitt was the secondary coach and pass game coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.

His lengthiest coaching tenure came in Green Bay from 2008 until 2018. In 2008, Whitt got his start with the Packers as a defensive quality control coach. He then served as the team’s cornerbacks coach for the next nine seasons before taking over as as the defensive pass game coordinator in 2018. Whitt was dismissed from Green Bay that offseason along with then head coach Mike McCarthy after the Packers missed the playoffs.

There’s already been some speculation in the wake of Martindale’s firing as to what direction the Ravens will go in to replace him, be it an in-house promotion or outside hire. It’s still early in the process, but this news suggests they are at least exploring options not currently within the organization to fill the vacant defensive coordinator role.

Whitt’s history as a secondar specialist could be attractive for the Ravens, who have invested a lot in their defensive backfield over the past few seasons. The Ravens were one of the worst defenses in the NFL against the pass in 2021 although they were decimated by injuries at cornerback and safety.

Assuming the Ravens do proceed with interviewing Whitt for the job, it would be surprising if he was hired immediately. They will likely do some due diligence and interview multiple candidates. However, the fact that they’re already looking to interview Whitt just a day after the position became vacant suggests the interest level is high.

Whitt was part of a defensive turnaround for the Cowboys in 2021. Their defense allowed the third-lowest completion percentage in the NFL. Also, opposing quarterbacks’ passer rating of 76.6 against the Cowboys was the third-lowest mark of any team, and they forced the most interceptions (26) in the league.

It will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds. Stay tuned for more updates.