The news dropped on Friday afternoon.
Usually, when news is dropped on a Friday afternoon, whomever is delivering it isn’t seeking a lot of attention.
In sports for example, head-coach hirings and significant free-agent signings are not announced on Friday afternoons. Teams announce these things earlier in the week when news organizations are at full staff so the news will receive maximum desired attention.
The Jets on Friday afternoon quietly — through their website — announced the completion of Adam Gase’s assistant coaching staff. Whether they did this intentionally with hopes that it would slide under the news radar or not is up for debate. The Jets surely won’t cop to this.
But it certainly doesn’t look like the Jets were seeking maximum exposure in announcing an assistant-coaching staff that has potential problems.
Gase has a vision for the Jets and that vision begins with injecting an energy and edge into the franchise that had been lacking it under the leadership of the man he replaced, Todd Bowles.
This is a good thing. The question is whether Gase is playing with fire with a hire or two on his staff.
The hiring of Gregg Williams as his defensive coordinator looks like a good one because Williams is a proven strong defensive mind and he fits what Gase, whose expertise is offense, said he wanted on the other side of the ball, which is a “head coach of the defense.’’
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It also helps that Williams has been an NFL head coach before.
There are, however, two rubs involving Williams — who comes with a reputation of volatility — and this staff Gase has assembled that are cause for at least a little bit of concern about potential combustibility.
One of them has to do with one of Gase’s hires announced Friday — Joe Vitt.
Vitt, who happens to be Gase’s father-in-law, coached with Williams in New Orleans and, along with Williams, was a central figure in the 2012 Bountygate scandal.
More specifically, Vitt testified against Williams during the NFL investigation hearings conducted by former league commissioner Paul Tagliabue, calling Williams out as a liar. Vitt, too, claimed that Saints players didn’t take Williams seriously because of his “schtick’’ as a tough guy and “false bravado,’’ according to reports.
Williams, conversely, reportedly testified in an appeal that it was Vitt who called for the bounty program to continue after Williams called for a halt to it. Williams was suspended by the NFL for a year and Vitt got six games, some believing his cooperation with the league testifying against Williams softened his sentence.
So now Vitt will serve as a senior defensive assistant in charge of outside linebackers under Williams’ watch.
If you believe their rocky past together is totally forgotten and you don’t think that has potential to become a problem, I’ve got two non-refundable 2020 Jets Super Bowl tickets for sale at $10,000 apiece for purchase right now.
The second potential issue at play with Williams is the fact that Gase hired Williams’ son, Blake, as a defensive assistant. According to an ESPN report, Gase made this hire under some duress. Gase, according to the report, “balked’’ at the idea of hiring Williams’ son but did so after some pressure from Williams.
Blake Williams, who served as the Browns’ linebackers coach and called the defensive plays during the second half of last season, was fired by the Rams after the 2013 season and has worked only for NFL teams on which his father was on the staff.
So to review: Gase hired his father-in-law (Joe Vitt) who was embroiled in a very public controversial spat with the guy Gase hired as his defensive coordinator (Gregg Williams), who possibly pressured Gase into hiring his son (Blake Williams).
Add to that what appears to be at least a slight lack of diversity on the staff — with only three African-American assistants as position coaches (Shawn Jefferson with receivers, Andre Carter with defensive line and Dennard Wilson with defensive backs) and none as coordinators — and what we have is a potential “As the Jets Turn’’ soap opera in Florham Park.
Hopefully for the sake of the Jets and their fans, this all works out to plan and Gase looks like a genius who pushed all the right buttons. But this does bear watching. Because if it doesn’t work out and it all blows up in Gase’s face, the fallout will receive a lot more news-cycle attention than the hirings did on Friday afternoon.