The offensive staff for Michigan football under new head coach Sherrone Moore has mostly come together with Kirk Campbell promoted to offensive coordinator, Grant Newsome elevated to offensive line coach and Steve Casula reportedly being brought aboard as the new tight ends coach. But the defensive side of the ball remains something of a mystery.
As of yet, there have been no announcements of coaches retained or hired on defense, though defensive line coach Mike Elston and defensive pass game coordinator Steve Clinkscale have both been on the road actively recruiting for the Wolverines. But the biggest need is whoever Michigan intends to hire to replace Jesse Minter at defensive coordinator.
First reported by The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb, Joe Cullen could be a target for the maize and blue to fill that post. That sentiment was echoed by NFL on CBS insider Jonathan Jones, who said the Kansas City Chiefs defensive line coach is a candidate for the Michigan DC job, but he’s also being looked at by the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders.
Chiefs defensive line coach Joe Cullen is considered a candidate for several defensive coordinator jobs, sources say. His name is in the mix with the Seahawks and Commanders, as well as at the University of Michigan.
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) February 4, 2024
Cullen has been a defensive coordinator multiple times throughout his career, including two stints at Richmond, at Indiana in 2004, and most recently in 2021 for Urban Meyer’s Jacksonville Jaguars. The most notable experience, however, is that Cullen was the defensive line coach for John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens from 2016-2020, where he worked under then-DC Wink Martindale — same as Mike Macdonald and Jesse Minter, the Wolverines’ last two coordinators.
Given that he has experience in the same system, ideally, he’d be able to come to Ann Arbor and run it as Macdonald and Minter both did. He’s clearly being sought after by many powers that be in the NFL, so if Moore is able to secure him, it would be something of a coup.
Cullen does have experience in the area, as well, as he was the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions from 2006-08 — albeit that was in the darkest days of that franchise under then-head coach Rod Marinelli.