The New York Jets have a new defensive coordinator in Gregg Williams, and he’s getting a talented roster full of dynamic playmakers at every level.
There will be plenty of familiar faces on the Jets defense this season, but the scheme and playbook are likely to look much different than in recent years.
The arrival of Gregg Williams as Adam Gase’s defensive coordinator brings an aggressive, attacking-style defense that should take full advantage of the star power already on the roster. Big names like safety Jamal Adams, linebacker C.J. Mosley and defensive lineman Leonard Williams should make Williams’ transition to his new team as easy as possible.
Williams is excited about working with talented young players like Adams, a vocal leader who appreciates his new coach’s no-nonsense approach (via team senior reporter Eric Allen):
He’s motivated by some of the guys I’ve coached before. He’s watched those films and some of those are his idols, too. One of the things he’s very motivated by is directness. I said, ‘I’ve coached a lot better people than you before.’
Williams will also have a coach on the field in Mosley, a four-time Pro Bowler who was surprisingly allowed to walk by the Baltimore Ravens this offseason. A veteran coach like Williams knows Mosley’s combination of leadership, intelligence and playmaking ability will be incredibly valuable this season and beyond:
He’s a really good leader and he leads by example first. All the great leaders that I’ve ever been a part of have to show great example before you open your mouth, so he’s always doing that. He’s always done that, he’s not an extremely highly vocal guy but he sets the example by how he goes about doing his job and he understands the routine of being a pro, being a real pro. He’s excited about the flexibility now of all a sudden even being more of a quarterback of the defense and having the checks and the audible systems and the things that we teach. He’s been very good and it will be fun.
Adams and Mosley were both first-round picks in their respective drafts, as was Leonard Williams, the Jets’ veteran anchor on the defensive line. Williams initially wanted to add him when he entered the league after dominating at USC, and now, he’ll get the chance to coach him in New York:
I’m really looking forward to cutting him loose and he was high on my list to get a chance to draft. There is a drastic difference in just the philosophy of how we play up front and he’s had some really great springs, can’t wait to get him in pads and ready to go. But he’s another one I’m excited about the opportunity to help him be as good as he can be.
Williams joins Gase’s staff after serving as the interim head coach of the Cleveland Browns, finishing the season after Hue Jackson was relieved of his duties.
This will be Williams’ eighth stint as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, having spent time in the same role with the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Oilers/Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He also spent three seasons as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
If he wants to get another head coaching gig down the road, having immediate and significant success with the Jets defense would be the most effective vehicle. With blue-chip talents like Adams, Mosley and Williams in the fold, as well as No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams, that shouldn’t be terribly difficult.