The Washington Commanders announced today they have named Joe Whitt Jr. as the team's defensive coordinator.
Whitt Jr. joins the Commanders after serving as the secondary/defensive passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys for the past three seasons (2021-23).
Since taking over the secondary in 2021, Whitt's unit has led the league with 59 interceptions. Last season, Dallas' pass defense ranked fifth in passing yards allowed per game (187.4) and recorded 17 interceptions, tied for the eighth most in the NFL. CB DaRon Bland set an NFL single-season record for most interceptions returned for touchdowns in a single season (five), and earned Pro Bowl and All Pro honors. The Cowboys allowed 27 plays of 25-plus yards, the second fewest in the league.
In 2022, Whitt Jr. worked closely with CB Trevon Diggs as he recorded three interceptions, 14 passes defensed and forced incompletions on 12.1 percent of passes. Dallas ranked eighth in the league in net pass yards per game (200.9) and tied for 10th in completion percentage (62.7). S Donovan Hooker registered 5.0 sacks which led all defensive backs and was tied for the most by a Cowboys defensive back since 1984.
In 2021, the Cowboys finished in the top 10 for opponent completion percentage (59.5 - third) and interceptions (26 – first). Diggs led the NFL with 11 interceptions and tied a franchise record while also earning his first Pro Bowl honors. Diggs was also named First Team All Pro as voted on by the Associated Press.
Whitt Jr. served as the secondary/defensive passing game coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2020.
Prior to working in Atlanta, he worked as the pass game coordinator/secondary coach for the Cleveland Browns in 2019. His unit ranked seventh against the pass, allowing 216.9 yards per game. The Browns had 14 interceptions, tied for eighth in the NFL.
In 2018, Whitt Jr. was the defensive pass game coordinator after serving as the secondary/cornerbacks coach for the Green Bay Packers for nine seasons (2009-17). During his time in Green Bay, he helped the team win Super Bowl XLV, and he coached the Packers to a league-high 176 interceptions while ranking ninth in opponent passer rating (83.2). His unit ranked seventh in opponent completion percentage (59.8) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (1.34).
Cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Sam Shields combine for 33 interceptions from 2010-14 which was the most by a set of teammates in that time span. From 2009-11, the Packers led the NFL twice (2009 and 2010) and had 85 total interceptions. It was the most by the team over a three-year span since 1943-45 (95) and the most by any NFL team since the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers each posted 86 from 1986-88.
In 2009, Whitt Jr. helped Hall of Fame CB Charles Woodson to a career-best nine interceptions, four forced fumbles, 18 pass defensed and three defensive touchdowns. Woodson earned defensive player of the year honors that year and became 1-of-11 defensive backs in NFL history to achieve the honor.
Whitt Jr. entered the NFL coaching ranks with the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 as an assistant defensive backs coach.
He coached cornerbacks at Louisville from 2003-06 and wide receivers at the Citadel in 2002.
Whitt Jr. played collegiately at Auburn as a walk-on wide receiver, eventually earning a scholarship. He transitioned to a student assistant after suffering injuries and graduated in 2001 with a degree in communications.
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