Gregg Williams Firing Shows Jets Are Willing to Start off Clean in 2021

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The New York Jets’ coaching firing spree has officially started. The Gregg Williams firing, made official on Monday, might spell the end for head coach Adam Gase, whose seat has been heating up since last season. The same can be said for offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.

However, New York probably started off by getting rid of the wrong coaching staff member. The Jets are an 0-12 team. As such, it’s quite clear that they have been beyond miserable on all fronts. Even Williams’s once-reliable defense was not able to step up, which is probably what cost him his job. The same applies to Loggains’s offense and Gase’s awful playcalling. That should be an indicator that changes are coming at Florham Park in the offseason, if not by the end of the regular season.

As former Texans defensive coordinator Frank Bush prepares to temporarily replace Williams, New York finishes the campaign against some exceptionally difficult opponents. The Seahawks, the Rams, and the Browns all face the winless Jets in the next four weeks. Subsequently, the Jets will struggle to get their first win and it is not difficult to see Adam Gase get replaced amidst all of that. This would be a blessing in disguise for the Jets organization after the fiasco Gase has brought on since his hiring in 2019.

Gregg Williams Firing: What Cost Him the Job?

Despite its limited success, the Jets defensive unit has all but disappointed all year long. Through twelve games, New York has conceded the fourth-most yards in the league. Some credit has to go to the team’s rushing defense, which has had a tremendous year and ranks third after Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

Therefore, two main factors stand out as reasons for Gregg Williams to lose the position. Firstly, he has definitely had a rough year when it comes to calling the plays on defense. According to Yahoo! Sports, it was Gase who made the decision to let Williams go. This came after a blitz call with 5 seconds remaining against the Raiders with NY leading by four. While it is irrational to cherry-pick one play as a reason for a season-long disaster, one cannot deny the failure of the secondary and how Gregg Williams hasn’t mobilized action to stabilize the unit.

The Jets have allowed 7.9 yards per passing play, the third-most in the NFL. The prospect of adding personnel to the pass-rush at the expense of downfield coverage is one that New York is fairly used to. This has affected the defense in short and long passing situations alike. Most frequently, this results in either open completions to receivers or even yards after the catch.

Furthermore, Gregg Williams often suffered from lacking depth or quality in many positions, mostly in the secondary. Only Seattle has surrendered more yards through the air than New York’s 291.0 per game. For the better part of the 2020 campaign, their top outside corner was one of the worst free-agent signings this year, Pierre Desir. Moreover, general manager Joe Douglas traded away another important piece in coverage, Jamal Adams. That way, Williams had to use newcomer Bradley McDougald alongside Marcus Maye at safety. McDougald has taken a massive step backward, allowing a passer rating of 102.3, up from the 58.8 he allowed in 2019.

Perhaps Williams should get the blame for not capitalizing on great performances by Blessuan Austin and Maye, and not utilizing them more actively. However, the numbers tell loudly that the Jets defense was at least successful against the run. Therefore, it is a surprise that Williams is the first one fired. It is very obvious that the Jets rebuild starts with replacing Gase and clearing the coaching deck, and this might lay down the foundation for such change.

Adam Gase Is Likely To Follow the Same Path

If common sense prevails, the Gregg Williams firing should mean that Gase is a safe bet to be shown the door. Should this finally happen, ownership would take the first step towards fixing a much bigger problem than Williams ever caused.

Adam Gase’s most crucial “crime” wasn’t any play call or even a trend related to playcalling. Instead, it was simply how he distributed the play selection between the passing and the running units.

This might be odd but it’s a no-brainer upon further review. The Jets’ latest loss to LV finally unveiled an efficient offense run through the rushing unit. New York had one of their most clean and efficient games of the year. The running group generated 206 yards on 34 rushes, amounting to 6.1 per carry. Sam Darnold only made 23 throws and had his best passer rating of the year–97.4.

This season, despite the fact that Le’Veon Bell disappointed so much that NY cut him and Frank Gore and has struggled, the running game is STILL better than the abysmal passing game that the Jets run out there.

On average, Jets running backs produce 4.4 yards per attempt. Meanwhile, the passing game only generates about 5.0 yards per passing attempt. Why it’s worth it shifting the play selection a little is because the Jets average so little due to being very inefficient on passes. Jets quarterbacks, whether it is Darnold or Joe Flacco, complete just 57.6 percent of their throws. By replacing unproductive incompletions with reasonable gains on the ground, both the pass and the offense overall could experience a statistical renaissance.

The play selection ratio is 56:44, quite heavy for an NFL team, so this would not even be a risk. Rather it would have been a long-awaited move. Adam Gase didn’t adapt to or accurately utilize his offense. Therefore, the 0-12 record is a good reflection of how much he should be fired.

Before that can happen, though, the Jets decided that the Gregg Williams firing needed to happen first. Whether that was the right move on a professional or even a personal level; remains to be seen, much like Gase’s future with the team.

Thanks for reading my article discussing the Gregg Williams firing. Follow me on Twitter @TeodorTsenov for more of my content and follow @OT_Heroics!

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Teodor Tsenov is a writer in the NFL Department of Overtime Heroics. Teodor joined the media in March 2020, previously writing for Franchise Sports UK. Also a second-year International Sport Management student at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in Den Haag, the Netherlands. Originally from Sofia, Bulgaria.