Jets defense focused on building new culture under Gregg Williams
By Luke Easterling
The New York Jets have a new defensive coordinator in Gregg Williams, and he’s already hard at work instilling a new culture in his players.
The recipe for success in today’s NFL is a complicated one, and it can vary from team to team. For the New York Jets, it’s hard to disagree with the idea that a change in culture from the top down is in order heading into the 2019 season.
After losing 10 or more games in each of the last three seasons, the Jets have quietly built one of the league’s most promising rosters, with a healthy balance of young talent and veteran experience across the board on both sides of the ball.
For the defense, now under the direction of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, that culture was a stressing point from Day 1, says linebacker C.J. Mosley (via team senior reporter Eric Allen):
Our first three days when the veterans got here for conditioning and all of that, all he talked about was culture. We didn’t talk about any plays or anything like that. It kind of set the standard about how he wanted the defense to work, how he wanted us to work and how he wanted us to be on the field.
Mosley says Williams leads by example when it comes to exhibiting the kind of culture he wants from his defenders:
Tenacity. That’s one of the first things you can think of, the way he carries himself in the classroom speaks volumes to the way he wants his guys to play on the field. You’ll hear him talking like this and the next moment he’ll bust out screaming. I think it’s just a culture change.
Mosley, a four-time Pro Bowler for the Baltimore Ravens, knows a thing or two about what a winning locker room looks like. During his tenure in Baltimore, the Ravens only had one losing season, and made the playoffs multiple times. The Jets haven’t tasted the postseason in nearly a decade, missing the playoffs eight years in a row since making it to back-to-back AFC title games.
Mosley gives Williams a key leader at the heart of the defense, but there’s plenty of talent and leadership elsewhere, as well. Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams is the vocal leader of the group, despite just now heading into his third NFL season. Veteran defensive lineman Leonard Williams is a cornerstone of the unit, and the addition of No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams will only strengthen the defensive front.
All signs point to a big year for the Jets defense, and if that happens, Mosley and his teammates will likely trace it back to those early days with Williams, instilling the winning culture they’ve desperately needed for years.