Source: Cowboys to interview Joe Whitt Jr. for defensive coordinator job

Joe Whitt Jr,, Green Bay Packers (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Joe Whitt Jr,, Green Bay Packers (Photo by NFL via Getty Images) /

According to a source, the Dallas Cowboys are set to interview Joe Whitt Jr.

On Friday, the Dallas Cowboys announced the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan after his unit posted one of the worst performances in franchise history this past season. Now, according to an unnamed source, the Cowboys are set to interview his potential replacement this Sunday.

The Cowboys are set to interview Atlanta Falcons passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach, Joe Whitt Jr., for the now open defensive coordinator position in Dallas. That per a source via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

The connection between Whitt Jr. and the Cowboys is crystal clear. The potential DC candidate coached under current Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy from 2008-2018 as part of the staff with the Green Bay Packers. Whitt Jr. spent the bulk of his time in Green Bay as the cornerbacks coach.

The son of longtime Auburn assistant coach Joe Whitt Sr., who spent 25 years on the coaching staff at the university, Whitt Jr. got his coaching start as a student assistant for the Tigers. His first NFL job came in as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 2007.

The following year, Whitt Jr. would join McCarthy in Green Bay. He’d help the Packers secure a Super Bowl title in 2010 as his secondary would rank fifth in the NFL allowing an average of 194.2 passing yards to opposing offenses.

After his 11-year run with McCarthy and the Packers, Whitt Jr. would spend a season with the Cleveland Browns as their defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator in 2019. Last year, he made his return to the Falcons after 13 years, assuming the same role he had with Cleveland the year before.

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If the Cowboys decide to hire Whitt Jr. as their new defensive coordinator, it won’t come without some controversy. McCarthy’s hiring of Nolan last year was seen as a loyalty addition rather than acquiring the best fit for the position.

Joe Whitt Jr.’s history with the Dallas Cowboys second=year head coach will likely draw similar criticism. Combined with the fact the Atlanta Falcons fielded the worst pass defense in the NFL last season under his watch, allowing an average of 293.6 yards through the air to opposing offenses per game in 2020, Whitt Jr.’s potential hiring in Dallas might not be very well received.