New York Jets: The unexpected issue hurting Quinnen Williams’ season

NY Jets (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets’ defense has had its fair share of injuries, but there is one preventable coaching issue that’s holding back Quinnen Williams.

The New York Jets’ defense has had a rough year, to say the least.

Just about everything that could’ve gone wrong has gone wrong for them in 2019. The cornerbacks have been brutal, and they’ve heavily struggled to get to the quarterback.

Their strong suit was linebacker depth, and, well, almost every linebacker who stepped foot on the Jets’ field this season has gotten injured. Not to mention the injuries everywhere else on the roster.

Some of this can be blamed on poor management, and some of it can just be blamed solely on bad luck. Injuries have killed them all over the field. However, the one spot the Jets are healthy in is the defensive line.

Despite his players being at full health since Week 5, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has failed to get his young players the reps they should be getting.

The one-man being flawed the most by this is Quinnen Williams.

Coming out of Alabama, Williams was a monster. A sure-fire talent that would dominate in the NFL. The Jets rightfully bought into the hype and took him third overall, passing on edge rushers and potentially more draft capital while doing so.

The Jets had every opportunity to trade out of that third slot in the 2019 draft for more picks to further build their roster, but they passed on that opportunity to take Williams. This sent a message: the Jets thought Williams was a baller.

Williams has been quiet so far in his rookie season, only having 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss. It’s been a huge disappointment to watch him struggle to make plays considering his pre-draft hype and the spot he was drafted. He was supposed to make an impact early on, and he hasn’t done so yet.

One major surprising factor that is potentially hurting his rookie season has been his playing time. Williams has only seen the field for at least 70% of snaps once this season. Once. That’s a pretty crazy stat for a player you took over acquiring some serious draft capital.

The coaching staff has shown they like to follow a “best players play” mentality. That is reasonable, and effective at times, but only to a certain extent. Did benching Trumaine Johnson despite his massive contract make sense? Absolutely.

But, take 2018 for example. Teddy Bridgewater would have likely been a better option at quarterback than Sam Darnold to start the season? Probably. But would it have made sense to play him over Darnold? Not at all.

The Jets’ situation with Williams is fairly similar. Sure, he’s struggled to hit his stride so far, but he shouldn’t be losing snaps seven games into his career. He’s 21 years old, showed ridiculous potential in college, and was the third overall pick for a reason. He should be getting his snaps no matter what.

If the Jets are a contending team trying to make a playoff push, perhaps this story is different. If you’re in a tight race for a playoff spot, obviously you make decisions differently. The fact of the matter is, the Jets are a 2-7 team that is arguably a bottom three organization in the NFL. What reason do they have to not play young talent?

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The argument can be made that Quinnen Williams hasn’t fit into Gregg Williams’ scheme. Gregg was the defensive coordinator for months prior to drafting Williams. If there was a scheme issue, it should have been pointed out long before drafting him. And if it wasn’t, that’s a serious problem. Quinnen Williams can fit somewhere in the defense and should be on the field as much as possible.