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Washington Commanders name Kliff Kingsbury offensive coordinator, Joe Whitt Jr. defensive coordinator

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The Washington Commanders announced today they have named Kliff Kingsbury as the team's offensive coordinator and Joe Whitt Jr. as the team's defensive coordinator.

Kingsbury joins the Commanders after serving as a senior offensive analyst for USC in 2023. Last season, USC's offense scored 41.85 points per game and Kingsbury worked closely with QB Caleb Williams who threw for 3,633 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Prior to his time at USC, Kingsbury served as the head coach for the Arizona Cardinals for four seasons (2019-22). In 2021, Arizona posted an 11-6 record and secured a playoff berth. Kingsbury became the first head coach since 2015 to post 11-plus wins in a single season and lead the Cardinals to the playoffs. The Cardinals offense ranked top 10 in the league in total offense (8th), touchdowns scored (tied for 8th) and rushing offense (10th). Arizona was one of three teams to rank in the top 10 in total, rushing and passing offense that season.

Kingsbury worked closely with Cardinals QB Kyler Murray. In 2020, Murray threw for a career-high 3,971 passing yards and 26 touchdowns and earned Pro Bowl honors. In his first year under Kingsbury's guidance in 2019, Murray earned Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

From 2013-18, Kingsbury served as the head coach at his alma mater Texas Tech. Each season that Kingsbury called plays for the Red Raiders' offense, they ranked in the top 10 for passing yards and in the top 20 in total offense. His teams also averaged at least 30 points per game in every season.  

In 2015, Texas Tech ranked second in the country in total offense (570.5), passing offense (388.2) and scoring offense (45.1). QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 4,633 yards and 36 touchdowns, becoming the youngest quarterback in NCAA history to amass 5,000 yards of total offense as he led the nation in that category (393.0).

In 2012, Kingsbury served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M, helping QB Johnny Manziel become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. The Aggies ranked third nationally in total offense (558.5), 13th nationally in rushing offense (242.1) and 14th in passing offense (316.5).

Kingsbury began his coaching career at Houston for four seasons, first as the offensive quality control coach, then quarterback coach and finally as co-offensive coordinator. The Cougars led the nation in total offense (599.1), passing offense (450.1) and scoring (49.3) in 2011, while QB Case Keenum completed his record-setting career and won the Sammy Baugh Trophy while being named a Heisman finalist.

Kingsbury was drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round in the 2003 NFL Draft. He spent 2003 on injured reserve with the Patriots, then was on the New Orleans Saints practice squad in 2004. He played for the New York Jets in 2005, appearing in one game, then attended the Buffalo Bills training camp in 2006. He played for the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe in 2006, then signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 2007 before spending that season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

As a player at Texas Tech, Kingsbury became one of three players in NCAA history to have more than 12,000 passing yards and total yards, with 1,000-plus completions. He set 39 school records, 16 Big 12 marks and 17 NCAA records. As a 2002 senior, he won the Sammy Baugh Trophy and was the Associated Press Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.

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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