The Jets got their man, landing Gregg Williams to lead new coach Adam Gase’s defense. Williams has a checkered past, however. Here are three positive and three negatives from his long history as an NFL assistant or head coach dating to 1990:
– Strong defenses: Williams is known for his aggressive, blitz-happy attacking style. He’s been to two Super Bowls as a defensive coordinator, with the Titans and Saints, and his defenses, traditionally using the 4-3 system, have finished in the top 10 in total defense seven times. He also has led top-10 ranked defenses in points five times.
– Success in Cleveland: Williams guided the Browns to a 5-3 record as an interim head coach this past season in place of Hue Jackson, producing more wins in half of a season than the Browns had notched in the previous three years combined. Still, he wasn’t retained, as Cleveland chose offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens as its next head coach.
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– One of the best ever: The 2000 Titans defense, guided by Williams, allowed just 191 points, the third fewest since the league went to a 16-game season. Tennessee led the NFL in total defense, which helped the Titans win the AFC Central.
– Bountygate: Williams was suspended by the NFL for the 2012 season for his role in the Saints scandal, in which players were rewarded for causing injuries to targeted players on the other team from 2009-11. An investigation revealed players were given $1,000 for forcing opposing players to be taken off on a cart and $1,500 for knocking out an opponent. Audio from a documentary was released to Yahoo Sports in which Williams could be heard during a 2012 playoff game, against the 49ers, telling his players to tear wide receiver Michael Crabtree’s ACL and target wide receiver Kyle Williams, who had a history of concussions.
– Head coach failure: In three seasons with the Bills, he never won more than eight games and was fired following the 2003 season.
– Trending down: Williams’ defenses have struggled in recent years. The Browns were 30th this past season in total defense, allowing a whopping 393 yards per game, and 14th the year before, though the unit did allow 25.6 points per game, which was second worst in the NFL. In three years as the Rams’ defensive coordinator (2014-16), they never finished better than ninth. They were 23rd in 2015 and 17th in 2014.