9 potential replacements for Jack Del Rio as Commanders defensive coordinator

The pressure is mounting on Jack Del Rio.

Jack Del Rio
Jack Del Rio / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Commanders could hire Matt Burke

Matt Burke has been coaching defenses in the NFL for close to 20 years, and he is still just 47 years old. He has served stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, coaching one of the most productive defensive lines in the league. He has been a coordinator for several teams and is currently filling that role for the Houston Texans.

I figure if DeMeco Ryans brings you in to be his defensive coordinator, that is an outstanding endorsement. So why would he make a parallel move to be a coordinator for another club?

For the exact same reason that the Washington Commanders were able to hire Eric Bieniemy away from the Kansas City Chiefs.

With a defensive guru like Ryans as head coach, Burke’s light might be diminished. If the Commanders bring in an offensive-minded head coach this off-season if Ron Rivera is let go, he could be an ideal counterpart.

Commanders could hire Joe Cullen

If that offensive-minded head coach turns out to be Bieniemy, might he pluck his colleague from Kansas City?

Joe Cullen only overlapped with Bieniemy for one season with the Chiefs. But he has extensive defensive line coaching experience in the NFL, including a five-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens from 2016 to 2020.

He then moved on to become defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021, where his defense finished in the middle of the pack - two spots ahead of the Commanders in total defense. You may recall that was a nightmare year under the short-lived tenure of head coach Urban Meyer.

The new regime did not rehire Cullen and he moved on to Kansas City for the 2022 season. With his reputation restored, this is an option to consider.