New York Jets fired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams on Monday, after the coach made a call that turned out to be disastrous in the Jets’ heart-breaking defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders. The Jets were trying to protect a four-point lead in the last minute of the game when Williams called a risky, Cover O blitz play.
As a result, the Raiders pulled off a 46-yard touchdown pass with just five seconds remaining in the game. Las Vegas won 31-28, leaving the Jets with a wretched 0-12 record for the 2020 season. The Jets are now the only winless team in the NFL.
The defensive coordinator was sacked after an hour-long meeting on Monday with Jets head coach Adam Gase. Gates said: “This morning I relieved Gregg Williams with his duties as the defensive coordinator. Organizationally, we had a discussion this morning and we felt like that was the best move for us to make. That was a heartbreaking way for our guys to lose a game. We can’t have that happen.”
Jets celebrations fall flat
The Jets players had even been celebrating their likely victory on the sideline just seconds before the disastrous play occurred. Gase acknowledged that he had made the decision to fire Williams on Sunday, but wanted to sleep on the matter before he confirmed it. He also consulted with general manager Joe Douglas, team president Hymie Elhai and CEO Christopher Johnson.
Williams has a reputation for being an impulsive, fiery character. His decision to call such as risky play at a key moment of Sunday’s game was in many ways typical of the man. He could have played a soft zone, but instead ordered a seven-man blitz. The play left rookie cornerback Lamar Jackson, an undrafted free agent, without any safety help and in man-to-man coverage.
It was no surprise that Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs III, one of the NFL’s fastest players, left Jackson in his wake on the game’s deciding play. The play call from Williams was also questioned in the post-game press conference by Jets safety Marcus Maye. Other senior players were also reportedly very unhappy with the call.
Gase should have overruled the call
Gase admitted that he should probably have called a time-out when he heard the call from Williams in his headset. He had never overruled one of his defensive coordinator’s calls previously, though, and he also acknowledged that he hired Williams because he trusted his judgment.
Sunday’s call was not the only reason for Williams to be fired, though. The Jets’ defense is ranked 29th in the NFL for yards allowed and blew three fourth-quarter leads in 2020. In October, Williams took a veiled shot at the Jets’ offense too, something which reportedly made several people at the franchise unhappy.
Gase himself is under pressure too, and will probably be dismissed at the end of an embarrassing season for the Jets.