What Was the Jets’ Gregg Williams Thinking on His Final Play Call?

The dumbest N.F.L. play name ever? Some folks suppose it got here on Sunday, and it appears to have price the Jets’ defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, his job.

The Jets had been trying to get the primary win of their season in opposition to the Las Vegas Raiders at house. They rallied to guide the sport, 28-24, with 5 seconds left and the Raiders in possession of the ball 46 yards away from the tip zone.

What occurred subsequent was virtually universally blasted by followers, commentators and Jets gamers, and appeared to sum up the group’s horrific 2020 season.

Needing to carry the Raiders off simply a few times extra, on third-and-10, the Jets didn’t drop nickel and dime backs into protection or merely shield in opposition to a deep cross, just like the one Derek Carr had tried on second-and-10 when he barely missed Nelson Agholor behind the tip zone. As an alternative, the Jets all-out blitzed, leaving the secondary threadbare and the Raiders’ receivers lined man-to-man. Carr accomplished a 46-yard landing cross to a single-covered Henry Ruggs III, who simply outran his defender, the undrafted rookie Lamar Jackson, and dumped the Jets to an 0-12 document.

The Jets couldn’t have very properly put eight gamers within the secondary, however as a result of they knew that solely a landing may beat them, they might have gone right into a forestall protection, opting to play zone or taken away the sidelines — something aside from a blitz with a rookie cornerback in opposition to one of many quickest males within the sport, Ruggs.

Relying on the way you counted, the Jets despatched both seven or eight rushers at Carr. ESPN Stats and Data reported that of 251 cross performs with this standards — last 15 seconds, a 4- to 8-point lead and 40 or extra yards to go — it was the primary time a group had ever rushed greater than six gamers.

Maybe Williams, who is thought for his superaggressive play calling, thought the protection may sack Carr earlier than he even obtained a cross off. It didn’t work out that approach.

On Monday, Williams was fired, according to multiple reports.

The commentary after the play name on Sunday was withering and speedy, and the Jets’ gamers didn’t maintain again their criticisms.

Security Marcus Maye, a group captain, mentioned, “I simply felt like we may have been in a greater name at the moment, in that time of the sport.”

He added: “The decision got here in. A whole lot of issues working via our minds and all the pieces like that. We simply performed the decision that the coaches known as and we simply obtained to execute. However you’ve obtained to assist us out on the identical time.”

Coach Adam Gase gave some terse nonanswers after the sport that mentioned rather a lot. Requested if the strain had been wanted, he replied, “We ended up pressuring.” Requested if Williams had defined his thought course of, Gase replied, “He defined his thought course of.”

Rex Ryan, a former Jets head coach, said on ESPN that it was the “dumbest name I’ve ever seen.” He went on to say: “Been across the factor for 58 years, 30 years as a coach. That’s the dumbest name ever. There’s a time and place for Cowl Zero. That certain ain’t it. It’s simply silly.”

On CBS, Boomer Esiason said: “The truth that Gregg Williams would play that protection in that state of affairs? It’s virtually just like the Jets drew that as much as lose the sport.”

There have been some conspiracy-minded soccer watchers on the market who insisted, with out exhausting proof, that the Jets had, the truth is, tried to lose, a part of an effort to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the primary general choose within the 2021 draft.

Williams was unavailable for remark.

When the Jets employed the brash Williams two years in the past, the transfer raised eyebrows, partially due to his past. He was a ringleader in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal, designing and administering a system of payouts to gamers who injured opponents. He was suspended for a 12 months.

With Williams out, it has been speculated that Gase, the pinnacle coach, might comply with at season’s finish.

The Jets’ season concludes with visits to the Seahawks and the Rams, a house sport in opposition to the Browns after which a go to to the Patriots, and all however New England have severe playoff aspirations. Dropping the remainder of the best way would put the 2020 Jets within the firm of the 2008 Detroit Lions and the 2017 Cleveland Browns because the only 0-16 teams in N.F.L. history.

The defensive coordinator on that Browns group was Gregg Williams. He has misplaced his probability to be part of infamy twice.

Ben Shpigel and Benjamin Hoffman contributed reporting.

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