Report: Jets fire defensive coordinator Gregg Williams

Gregg Williams Jets
The Jets have fired Gregg Williams.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets didn’t wait long to punish Gregg Williams after his puzzling last-second call on Sunday afternoon, firing him Monday morning, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Assistant head coach Frank Bush will take over as the interim defensive coordinator for the remainder of the season.

Holding onto a four-point lead that looked destined to become the Jets’ first win of the 2020 season, Williams made the decision to send seven pass rushers in the final seconds of a Week 13 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders, leaving rookie cornerback Lamar Jackson to get burned by the speedy Henry Ruggs III for a 46-yard game-winning touchdown with five seconds to go. 

While Jackson put the blame squarely on his shoulders, safety Marcus Maye called Williams out.

“That situation just has to be a better call,” Maye said. “We gotta execute, but you gotta help us out at the same time.”

Even Raiders quarterback Derek Carr couldn’t believe the call.

“I couldn’t believe they all-out blitzed us,” he said. “As soon as I saw it, I was thankful.”

How rare was Williams’ mystifying play call? According to ESPN Stats and Information, this was the 253rd instance over the last 15 years that a team was trailing between four and eight points with 15 or fewer seconds remaining in regulation and further than 40 yards away from the end zone. The Jets were the first team of that bunch to rush six or more defenders.

With the decision, Williams was unable to make it out of his second season as Jets defensive coordinator while becoming the immediate scapegoat for an 0-12 team whose fundamental shortcomings stem from clueless ownership and inept head coaching.

This season, the Jets’ defense ranked 29th out of 32 teams in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed.

It’s the latest disaster of the 62-year-old’s lengthy NFL career as both a head coach and defensive coordinator. He’s most famous for the “bounty gate” he instituted within the New Orleans Saints’ ranks as defensive coordinator, paying players extra money for injuring opposing players. Remarkably enough, he has worked in all but two seasons over the last 23 years with one of them prompted by a league-mandated one-year suspension.