The New York Jets have finally seen enough to make a coaching change. No, it’s not Adam Gase just yet, but instead defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who is now well known around the NFL world for his defensive decision in the waning seconds against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 13. Williams has reportedly been fired by the Jets, the team announced, less than 24 hours after being the reason quarterback Derek Carr was able to find rookie first-round pick Henry Ruggs .
The Jets led 28-24 at that point and were one stop away from securing their first win of the season. Instead, they’re now 0-12 and speculation surrounding their veiled (or not so much?) attempts at tanking are now at full throat., he’s now made the move to jettison Williams — which could make things interesting as the Jets conclude their 2020 season.
The role of interim defensive coordinator reportedly goes to linebackers coach Frank Bush, who joined the team in 2019 along with Williams. The 57-year-old is a former linebacker himself that moved to the NFL coaching ranks in 1993 for the Houston Oilers and, as such, brings a wealth of experience to the position, including having also served as defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans in 2009.
The move on Williams will inevitably begin what could and should be a major shakeup in the coaching staff in New York, and that includes speculation on the future of Blake Williams — the son of the now-fired defensive coordinator who currently serves as a defensive assistant for Gase and general manager Joe Douglas.long-term in the public eye, there are no guarantees that will be the case when the offseason arrives. Time will tell if Douglas truly believes Gase is the man for the job in a year that’s seen the team go 0-12 (the last loss being attributable to Williams’ bizarre blitz call in the final seconds) and a wholesale regression on former first-round pick Sam Darnold, who himself might be playing out his final days in a Jets uniform.
For Williams, a future in the NFL is even more muddied, considering his recent past in the league. The ringleader of the bounty scandal within the New Orleans Saints organization in 2012 — labeled Bountygate — that led to head coach Sean Payton being suspended the entire season to follow, a $500,000 team fine and the loss of second-round picks in both 2012 and 2013. Williams himself was suspended from the league indefinitely at the time, as were several Saints players, including linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
The suspension on Williams threw a monkey wrench in his hiring by former NFL head coach Jeff Fisher and the Rams, who brought him on staff prior to the league dropping the hammer. He was fired by the Rams in 2013 without ever having worked a day for them, going on to sign with Tennessee Titans as a senior defensive assistant that season once he was reinstated.
He’d try his hand with Fisher again in 2014 as defensive coordinator for the Rams, but both were fired in 2016, leading to Williams being hired by the Cleveland Browns in the same role. Sweeping changes pushed him into the interim head coach role after the firing of Hue Jackson, but he was fired by the Browns with the promotion of Freddie Kitchens to full-time head coach. The controversial coordinator signed on with the Jets in 2019 and it’s not been a quiet stay in New York either, with Williams sending veiled shots at Gase’s offense as a means of explaining the Jets defensive woes, and now seeing his tenure end in a resounding disaster — thanks to the final 13 seconds of Week 13.
Where the Jets go from here is anyone’s guess, but the same can be said for Williams, considering the baggage he carries.