Report: Steelers Request Interview With Cowboys DB Coach Joe Whitt Jr. For Vacant DC Role

Add another name to the list of candidates for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive coordinator position.

After reports of New York Giants’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and New Orleans Saints’ defensive backs coach Kris Richard interviewing with the Steelers to replace now-retired defensive coordinator Keith Butler, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac reported a new name Wednesday morning: Dallas Cowboys’ defensive backs coach Joe Whitt Jr.

Whitt Jr. spent the 2021 season with the Cowboys as the secondary coach/defensive pass game coordinator after previous stops with the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons. Whitt Jr. spent nine seasons with the Packers from 2009-2017 as the cornerbacks coach, before being elevated to pass game coordinator in 2018.

Following the 2018 season, Whitt Jr. was the secondary coach/pass game coordinator with the Browns in 2019 and held the same role with the Falcons in 2020 before joining the Cowboys last season. While in Dallas, Whitt Jr. helped unlock star cornerback Trevon Diggs’ potential, helping him lead the league in interceptions with 11, setting a new franchise record. However, Diggs also allowed the most receiving yards in the league last year while earning All-Pro honors.

Whitt Jr. also oversaw the likes of Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Woodson in Green Bay when Woodson won the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, and also helped develop cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Sam Shields into Pro Bowlers while in Green Bay in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

With three outside candidates now vying for the role of defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, Dulac said that whoever is hired will still likely operate under the guidelines that Butler did in Pittsburgh for seven seasons as defensive coordinator, with Mike Tomlin calling the plays.

As of now, the most likely scenario, according to Dulac, is that Steelers’ assistant Teryl Austin is the likely candidate to be promoted to defensive coordinator, but Tomlin is interviewing other candidates in case Austin might land with another team.

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