Falcons linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich cares about the guys in his unit, not just as players, but as men. He encourages the linebackers to spend time together off the field to become closer and learn from each other.
Ulbrich told The Falcoholic why that’s a priority for him.
“I think, obviously, the byproduct of it all is that they’re going to be a better unit on the field,” Ulbrich said. “But beyond that, I think what a lot of guys lose in this game nowadays is they get so caught up in the fact that it’s a business, and they lose this opportunity to develop amazing relationships with people. And that’s probably the biggest reason.”
The Falcons pride themselves on being a developmental coaching staff. There’s an emphasis on helping players mature as contributors to the team, but also as men.
“I want them all to grow as humans, and to me, the best part about this game is that it collects people from every region of the country and every economic background, and they have so much to learn from each other and most of them have overcome a lot, have a lot of inner strength,” Ulbrich said. “So I just want them to be able to share those stories, you know?
“Put their phones down, stop Instagramming and losing all these moments. Just growing as people and then developing relationships that will last a lifetime.”
It’s good advice for Ulbrich’s young players, and it certainly helped Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell assimilate into the NFL last season. Those guys had the benefit of veteran leadership from Paul Worrilow, who made their transition to the league easier. Now Campbell and Jones are being called upon to help Duke Riley adjust to the NFL.
The time spent developing these relationships will help the young linebacker corps get better on the field and it will help them grow as people off of it.