New York Jets Exclusive: Q and A with Karl Dunbar


Jul 28, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive line coach

Karl Dunbar

walks out to the field prior to training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

I think everybody that follows this website is familiar with Karl Dunbar. After creating the “Williams Wall” as defensive line coach in Minnesota, Dunbar came into Jets Nation to coach our defensive line in 2012. What he did was turn the Jets defensive line into one of the most formidable in the NFL. The “Sons of Anarchy” are set to dominate the and lead the Jets defense for years to come.

Well, the outpouring of good wishes for Karl Dunbar was unprecedented. It’s not often that a fan base campaigns to keep an assistant coach, before the team has picked a coach. Well, coach Dunbar is off to Buffalo with Rex Ryan, and we will miss him a great deal.

Coach Dunbar was kind enough to sit down with me for a short talk about the team and the guys that he has coached over the last three years. Take a look at our conversation:

Next: Coaching Defensive Line

Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets defensive line coach Karl Dunbar during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

THE JET PRESS: Coach, you have been doing defensive line for so long, what is it about defensive line play that drives you? What is it that gets you to get so much out of these guys?

COACH DUNBAR: I think the thing about it is that I played the position, so, it’s who I am and it’s what I do. I think that’s the thing that really excites me about when I’m coaching the position.

Next: Best Accomplishment

Jul 24, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive linemen pose for a photo with defensive line coach Karl Dunbar (center) prior to the start of training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

TJP: Looking back here with the Jets, is there a particular accomplishment or moment with a player, a particular guy you were proud of that you said, “Wow, I was able to pull something out of this kid”? If so, who was it, what was it..etc.?

DUNBAR: Well, people ask me that, and I the thing was Damon Harrison. He was a kid that we thought about when I first got here. You know, he was out of a little school in Iowa, and, he was from Louisiana. That was the thing, because, when I was in Minnesota, when I was in Chicago, both places always let me find one free agent that I liked. In Minnesota, and in Chicago, I had players that I brought up, and I always thought of a kid from Louisiana, for some strange reason.

He came in and did a great job adapting to our environment, and he’s become a great player, and I love him for that. That’s the thing about coaching, when you can find a kid who no one else likes, an underdog, and they become a player that everybody wants to be.

Next: More on Damon Harrison

Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets nose tackle Damon Harrison (94) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

TJP: Is that what turned Damon around, his adaptability and his work ethic?

DUNBAR: Yeah, I think. Damon came in and he was about 365(lbs). When he came back, he lost the weight, got in shape, and he did a great job. And that first year was almost like a Redshirt year. He played in a couple of games his first year. But that next year, when we came to training camp, when we got rid of both Sione (Po’uha) and Mike DeVito, and he was a guy that was in the mix with Kenrick Ellis, he flourished. That’s the thing you like about the underdog.

Next: Richardson and Wilkerson

Aug 1, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle

Sheldon Richardson

(91) and defensive end

Muhammad Wilkerson

(96) stretch during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

TJP: Talk to the Jets fans about the big two, Sheldon and Muhammad. What makes them work so well together? Are they the “Williams Wall” 2.0?

DUNBAR: Well, you gotta say this, it’s Sheldon, it’s Muhammad and it’s Quinton Coples. I really do think Todd Bowles; he runs the 4-3, he’s gonna be happy with those guys there. You know, Sheldon and Muhammad are great players. My man Quinton Coples, I think he’s a great player. So, they have a lot of talent up front, and, you know, Rex and the guys upstairs did a great job of getting me great talent. I just tried to coach them to the best of my ability. I think those guys are gonna be fine. They’re gonna be great.

Next: More on Quinton Coples

Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets outside linebacker Quinton Coples (98) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

TJP: You think Quinton is ready to take the next step?

DUNBAR: Yeah, I mean he took it for us. I mean, I think he’s had 15 sacks in the three years, or 16 or 18 sacks in the three years he’s been there. But, you know, he’s hurt. He broke his ankle and he came back from that. But I think Quinton Coples is a great football player. You know, if the Jets want to get rid of him, I’ll take him wherever I am.

Next: On Jets Fans

May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Jets fans cheer as

Calvin Pryor

(Louisville) is being selected as the number eighteen overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

TJP: Finally, I don’t know that I can remember a time where most of the fan base even knew who the defensive line coach was, much less, the love you have been shown from Jets Nation. Heck, they were pleading for you to stay, even when didn’t have a head coach yet. What does that mean to you, and what do you want to say to Jets fans before you head up north?

DUNBAR: I think social media has really spurned something about sports, and athletics, and everything. I have become a part of it. The only reason I got on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are because of my kids, and all of a sudden I’ve got these fans, from everywhere, you know, wanting to be my friend and everything like that, but I have no problem with that. You know, when you get into this business, it’s all about the people. If you are not into the people when you get into this business, it’s hardcore.

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And I understand, certain things I can’t say and can’t do, but I love the people in New York or New Jersey (from) when I was with the Jets. They love me, and I don’t have a problem with shaking hands, taking pictures and talking to people. I don’t want to be more than the defensive coordinator, or more than the head coach. I’m a defensive line coach and I understand that, but I enjoy what I do. The people and the players make it fun. That’s what it’s all about.

I love the people in New York, or from the New York Jets. They love me and I love them. I appreciate them, and I know that two times a year, I’ve got to play against these guys, and these fans. It’s gonna be awesome, and I love it.

And we love you coach. Thanks for taking the time. Follow Coach Dunbar on Twitter at @Kcoach99.

Next: How to Fix the Quarterback Position