The Jets and head coach Adam Gase have announced the hiring of Gregg Williams as the team’s defensive coordinator.
For Williams, 60, known for his aggressive, attacking 4-3 schemes, the Jets are his 11th stop with his ninth different NFL franchise and it will be his seventh assignment as a pro defensive coordinator.
Williams began his coaching career with four seasons as head coach of his alma mater, Belton (MO) High School. He moved on to the University of Houston as a graduate assistant in 1988-89 and from there it was a short hop to his first pro coaching job as defensive assistant (under then-defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan), special teams and linebackers coach with the Houston Oilers for seven seasons.
He moved with the franchise from Houston to Nashville and from 1997-2000 was the defensive coordinator of the Tennessee Oilers and Titans. In 1999 his defense contributed to Tennessee’s run all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV, where they lost to the St. Louis Rams. In 2000 the Titans led the NFL in total yards allowed and passing yards allowed and yielded 191 points, the third-fewest in a 16-game season.
Williams’ first head-coaching assignment came with the Buffalo Bills, whom he directed to 3-13, 8-8 and 6-10 seasons from 2001-03. His ’03 Bills team was ranked second in the league in total defense and passing defense and fifth in scoring defense.
He moved on to become defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins (2004-07), Jacksonville Jaguars (2008) and New Orleans Saints (2009-11). He guided his second Super Bowl defense in the Saints’ SB XLIV win over the Colts and his ’10 Saints unit finished fourth in total defense and passing defense and seventh in points allowed.
Williams was hired by the Tennessee Titans in 2013 as senior assistant defensive coach, then went to the Rams in February 2014 and served as defensive coordinator for three seasons.
Williams’ most recent stop was with the Cleveland Browns as defensive coordinator in 2017-18. When Hue Jackson was dismissed as head coach in October, Williams got his second head-coaching assignment, as the Browns’ interim coach, and guided the franchise that had gone 3-36-1 in the previous 2½ seasons to a 5-3 record. When Freddie Kitchens was named Cleveland’s head coach this month, Williams became available again.