When Gregg Williams somehow continued to find NFL employment despite his involvement in the Saints’ bounty scandal — including dropping a dime via an affidavit claiming that Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma had indeed offered $10,000 to anyone who knocks Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC title game — the inescapable conclusion was this: Williams must be one of the great defensive minds in existence.
After Sunday’s debacle against the Raiders, the inescapable conclusion is this: He isn’t.
Anyone who knows anything about football knows that, when leading by four points with 13 seconds to play against a team that has no time outs and the ball on your 46, you drop eight or nine men into coverage and defend the goal line. Anyone who plays Madden knows it. Anyone who plays Madden reasonably well does it, all the time.
Instead, über know-it-all Gregg Williams decided to go for the kill when the kill already was in hand, sending eight men after Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and asking undrafted rookie cornerback Lamar Jackson to cover first-round rookie Henry Ruggs III with no safety help.
Jackson has been criticized for biting on the double move from Ruggs. However, what choice did Jackson have? With no one behind Jackson, Ruggs could have caught a shorter pass and used his 4.28 speed to run past Jackson to paydirt.
Williams, not Jackson or anyone else, is responsible for the outcome. Williams, not Jackson or anyone else, is responsible for the loss. Williams, not Jackson or anyone else, blew the Jets’ best chance to avoid becoming the third NFL franchise to finish the year with an 0-16 record.
Now, the best chance to avoid losing the next four games requires, as an initial matter, firing Williams immediately. The comments from safety Marcus Maye are likely the tip of the no-confidence iceberg, one that no amount of ranting, raving, and/or Just for Men goatee gel will melt, not with only four weeks left in the season.
Who would coach Adam Gase replace Williams with? Anyone. Whoever it is, it doesn’t matter. Keeping Williams will serve only to ensure that the next four games become four more losses, sealing Gase’s fate and delaying at most by four weeks the fact that Williams is destined to become a former employee of the team.
Some have suggested that the Jets were trying to lose the game, in order to continue the tanking for Trevor Lawrence. Why would Gase care about that, if 0-16 means he won’t be back? The better conspiracy theory is that Williams is simply trying to sabotage Gase at this point, since 0-16 will stick much more clearly to him than to Williams. The better truth is likely that Williams allowed his stupid and misguided commitment to aggressive football to overpower common sense and good judgment.
Did you know that Williams also served as defensive coordinator of the 0-16 Browns? Hue Jackson, not Gregg Williams, is the name that gets tied to that 0-16. For this same reason, Gase, not Williams, will forever attach to the 0-16 Jets.
At some level, Gase may want to force Williams to suffer through the final 25 percent of a season that likely will have zero wins. If Gase wants to avoid that fate, however, he has a better chance of doing it if he tells Williams to pack up his stuff and get the hell out, right now.