New York Jets: Signing Gregg Williams should be top priority
By Michael Henken
Rumors have recently begun to swirl indicating that the New York Jets are targeting former Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator and interim head coach Gregg Williams to be their new defensive coordinator. If a deal can be made, it would be a terrific acquisition for the team.
On Monday, former Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase was formally announced to be the next head coach of the New York Jets. And while the move has been met with a wide range of reactions from Jets fans, it’s clear why ownership went with Gase: he’s an offensive mind and the organization believes he’s the right man to develop 21-year-old quarterback Sam Darnold.
And while whether or not he’ll be able to do that remains to be seen, one thing is quite clear and that is that Gase isn’t an expert on the defensive side of the ball and he wasn’t afraid to admit that at his introductory press conference in Florham Park.
“I probably need to spend my time with the quarterback,” Gase said. “That’s why whoever we bring in here on the defense has to do a great job with making sure he’s really the head coach of the defense.”
With that in mind, there are few better candidates than Gregg Williams to serve as the Jets ‘head coach of the defense.’ And that could be a possibility, as it’s been reported that the Jets are targeting Williams after he served as the defensive coordinator and then the interim head coach of the Cleveland Browns last season.
First off, Williams has a wealth of experience on the defensive side of the ball and he’s been known as one of the best defensive minds in football for years. Per CBS New York, Williams’ units have finished in the top 10 in total defense on seven different occasions. It’s a coach like this that will be critical to not only Gase’s success but the success of the Jets as a whole moving forward.
As far as his style goes, the 60-year-old Williams is known as a no-nonsense type of coach who seeks discipline and physicality out of his players. He typically runs a highly aggressive, attacking style of defense that puts a heavy emphasis on pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
In other words, Williams’ strengths seem to line up with the Jets’ weaknesses. The Jets defense, which was expected to be one of the team’s strong points in 2018, was incredibly inconsistent and, at times, highly undisciplined. That likely won’t fly with Williams at the helm.
And in recent memory, the Jets have had an incredibly difficult time both putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and in causing turnovers. Now, that obviously has to do with the personnel on the team as well, as the defensive line isn’t the strongest and a high-end pass rusher has been absent for years.
However, these needs can be addressed this offseason, as the Jets will have an estimated $100 million in cap space in addition to the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. It’s expected that they’ll be looking to improve the defensive line and perhaps add a cornerback in addition to looking to add one or more pass rushers.
It’s also important to note that Williams may look to install a 4-3 defense as opposed to the 3-4 defense that the Jets ran under Todd Bowles, so acquisitions and changes to the Jets defense may need to be made with this in mind should the team officially hire Williams.
Regardless of the player acquisitions that may or may not be made, however, Williams is simply the right man for the job. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Jets possessed one of the most aggressive and feared defenses in the league.
Due to his experience, style, and mindset, Williams has the ability to bring the unit back to that point, which will only benefit Gase and obviously the team as a whole.