Having an effective gameplan is helpful, but New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams believes there’s another aspect to the NFL game that’s more important.
Now running the defense for the Jets under new head coach Adam Gase, Gregg Williams has been a defensive coordinator for many other teams in the league, finding plenty of success across his long career in pro football.
How does he keep getting jobs? By prioritizing team culture over Xs and Os, Williams says (via team reporter Ethan Greenberg):
The reason I keep getting hired is culture. Culture beats strategy any day of the week. It’s about how you find ways yourself to be tougher, how you find ways to play harder, play smarter for longer than any opponent you go against. All the scheme is, is a way to surround the ball, surround the formation. Then it’s find ball, see ball, get ball. But it comes from an attitude. It comes from a personal understanding of what it takes to play this game at this level at the highest level.
Williams likes to prepare his defenders for game action by maintaining game-level intensity throughout the week:
When you guys see the voice, the loudness and stuff, that’s premeditated. How do we, Monday through Friday, make sure that these guys can block out the white noise on Sunday? For whatever reason, when you have slow-motion practices, you’re shocked on a fast-paced Sunday. So, I try to put as much external pressure on them as we can from distractions, voice, fake anger, that type of stuff to try and get ready to play on Sundays.
Williams went from defensive coordinator to interim head coach for the Cleveland Browns last season, replacing Hue Jackson, who was fired in the middle of the regular season. He now joins Gase, who struggled to field a successful team in his first stint as a head coach with the division-rival Miami Dolphins.
Instilling a winning culture will be vital for the Jets, a team that hasn’t made the postseason in nearly a decade. Williams will be helped by having some of the league’s best defenders on his roster, including Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams and free agent linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Throw in veteran defensive lineman Leonard Williams and No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams, and the Gang Green’s new defensive boss shouldn’t have much trouble making his mark in 2019 and beyond.