1. A Repeat Reunion: New Falcons linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich reunites with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn following their 2010 season together with the Seattle Seahawks. Quinn coached Seattle's defensive line and Ulbrich served as an assistant coach on special teams. It's the duo's second reunion, stemming from their time in San Francisco, where Quinn coached the defensive line (2003-04) and Ulbrich played linebacker for the 49ers (2000-2009).
2. ST-LB Coach Connection: Ulbrich's work as a special teams assistant with the Seahawks shouldn't be overlooked and relates to what the Falcons linebackers can expect from their new position group coach. Ulbrich teamed with Seahawks special teams coordinator Brian Schneider to improve the team's position group, including ranking third in the NFL with an average drive start at the 30.2 yard-line. Seattle also excelled in kick coverage, ranking fifth in the league with opponents starting at their own 24.6 yard-line. The Seahawks significant improvements showcased Ulbrich's attention to detail, including his ability to get the most from his players.
3. UCLA Promotion: Ulbrich joins the Falcons after serving as the defensive coordinator for the UCLA Bruins in 2014. Originally joining the Bruins staff as linebackers and special teams coach in 2012, Ulbrich later elevated to assistant head coach in the spring of 2012. His promotion stemmed from honors such as the 2013 FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year after guiding the Bruins special teams unit to one of the top rankings in the country in each of his first two seasons.
4. Talent Developer: Quinn is known for his ability to develop talent, maximizing the strengths of his players, and Ulbrich does the exact same thing. Instrumental in the development of one of the top linebacking corps in the country for 2013, Ulbrich helped lead the conversion of Anthony Barr, a former H-back, to outside linebacker. Barr transformed into one of the top pass rushers in college football, later selected with the ninth-overall pick of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by Minnesota. Ulbrich's defensive unit was ranked third in the Pac-12 in total defense last season and included seven defenders (two defensive linemen, two linebackers and three defensive backs) earning first or second-team all-conference honors.
5. Playing Experience Counts: NFL players will tell you it's easy to respect a coach who has been in their shoes, playing the game at the highest level. Ulbrich has been there and done that, originally selected with the second of two third-round picks (86th overall) out of Hawaii in the 2000 NFL Draft by San Francisco. He played in 120-career games with 75 starts, including six years as a starter. He recorded a career-high 167 tackles (90 solo) in 2004, finishing with 653 stops (365 solo), 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and 44 special teams tackles in his 10 seasons.