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Jets need to fire Adam Gase, but Gregg Williams must go, too

Broncos coach Vic Fangio didn’t bother to engage with Jets coach Adam Gase after their teams’ game Thursday night, and not just because Gase is mostly an afterthought in New Jersey following an 0-4 start. No, Fangio bolted because, he said, he wanted to keep his players from starting a brawl over Gase’s defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.

The Jets were flagged for six personal fouls in the game, including a fourth-quarter facemask of Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien that played a key role in Denver’s 37-28 victory at the Meadowlands. They hit Rypien late multiple times, all the way to the game’s closing moments.

#Broncos HC Vic Fangio directed his players to go straight to the locker room after beating the #Jets. He said after the game his guys were upset by all the late hits. The #Jets had SIX personal foul penalties on the night.

pic.twitter.com/1eThkRSDpl

— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 2, 2020

“Our sideline was getting pissed off about it and I just wanted to avoid any confrontation at the end of the game and having it get ugly there.” Fangio told reporters in his postgame Zoom call. “So I tried to get our guys to leave quickly to avoid anything happening there. I thought it was the prudent thing to do.”

MORE: Score, result, highlights from Broncos-Jets

Fangio has coached in the NFL a long time. He knows Williams’ defenses tend to go beyond aggressive and move straight to dirty. He wasn’t about to let his team get down into the mud.

And mud, of course, is associated with swine, which is how NFL Network analyst Steve Smith characterized Williams in the postgame show. The former receiver had no time for any of studio colleague Joe Thomas’ attempted rationalizations for Williams’ approach.

“Wherever he goes, the nonsense follows. That’s how he runs his defense and that’s how how he does it, straight up,” Smith said after recalling late hits he received from Williams-coached players. “I’m not saying you have to believe me. I’m willing to put myself out there and call a spade a spade. And that’s what Gregg WIlliams has always done, that’s who he is and that’s what he preaches.

“And until something else changes, I see it for what it is: If it smells like a pig, it looks like a pig and it’s oinking, then guess what, my friend, it’s a pig.”

Steve Smith blasts #Jets DC Gregg Williams for all the late hits. “That’s what he wants his players on defense to be. … His defense is about that BS. That’s how he coaches them. That’s how he influences them.” pic.twitter.com/cyuo0bdUMM

— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 2, 2020

The worst part for a Jets fan is that Williams’ defense isn’t intimidating enough to be effective. After Thursday’s performance, New York has allowed 27, 31, 36, and 37 points in its four games this season. Gase’s putrid offense has put the defense in bad spots and even allowed points itself, but it can’t shoulder all of the blame for those totals. 

Even a pick-six by Pierre Desir that was caused by pressure didn’t deter the Broncos on Thursday; they scored the game’s final 10 points, the last seven courtesy of an embarrassing 43-yard touchdown run by Melvin Gordon assisted by a Rypien downfield block.

The defense recorded zero sacks despite all those hits, too; the facemask, by Quinnen Williams, wiped out one and gave Denver a chance later in the drive to kick a go-ahead field goal. Rypien averaged 7.8 yards per attempt. Denver gained 359 total yards.

New York came into the game with nine first downs allowed by penalty, fifth-most in the NFL. Gang Green gave up seven first downs via penalty Thursday night alone. The team was flagged 11 times for 118 yards in all. 

So when Jets management finally decides it has had enough of Gase, as it should, perhaps as soon as Friday, it should not look to Williams as a possible interim replacement. It ought to clean him out of the pen, too.

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