Yesterday, the Falcons won the battle for Joe Whitt Jr., who formerly spent over ten years with the Packers and most recently was the Browns defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach for the Cleveland Browns. While with Green Bay, the Packers defense was one of the best at taking the ball away, something the Falcons struggled mightily with a year ago, as they finished 2019 -5 in turnover differential. It’s no surprise former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who was recently hired by Jerry Jones in Dallas, was also interested in Whitt’s services, but he chose to come to Atlanta to serve as the secondary coach.
By all accounts, Whitt is a high-quality hire that players are going to love playing for, and a former Falcons receiver gave his two cents about Atlanta’s new coach.
DAMN good coach…He was the DB Coach at Louisville when I was there…I mean truly a DAMN good coach https://t.co/7h8QQNvU4P
— Harry Douglas (@HDouglas83) January 9, 2020
Whitt Jr. was the cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator for the Louisville Cardinals from 2003-2006. While bringing him in should add a boost to the defensive coaching staff, the Falcons did lose a key member of their offensive staff yesterday as well, with Mike Mularkey announcing his retirement.
Mularkey was the offensive coordinator back in 2008, which was Matt Ryan’s rookie season. He went on to become the head coach of the Jaguars and Titans, eventually returning to Atlanta this past season as the tight ends coach. For 25 years, Mularkey coached in the NFL in some compacity, and this is what he had to say in his departure (via Vaughn Mcclure of ESPN):
“I’ve been blessed to do this for a long time and have a lot of great memories from the game I love,” Mularkey said in a statement. “I’ve also missed a lot of time with my family who I love and who has supported me so much throughout my career. I am looking forward to spending even more time with them and making even more memories.”
You can’t fault anyone for wanting to spend more time with their family, but Mularkey’s toughness will surely be missed in the Falcons locker room as we turn the page to 2020. It will be interesting to see who Dan Quinn chooses to be his replacement as the tight ends coach.