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Jets fire defensive coordinator Gregg Williams after controversial blitz

New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (pictured), who was a key figure in the New Orleans Saints' Bountygate scandal in 2012, becomes the first member of Adam Gase's coaching staff to be fired this season. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (pictured), who was a key figure in the New Orleans Saints' "Bountygate" scandal in 2012, becomes the first member of Adam Gase's coaching staff to be fired this season. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Less than a day after his questionable decision to send an all-out blitz on the game-deciding play in Sunday's loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was fired in a Monday morning meeting.

"Obviously, I wasn't happy about that call," Jets head coach Adam Gase told reporters when explaining his decision to dismiss Williams from the coaching staff. "That was a heartbreaking way for our guys to lose a game. For that to happen in that situation, we just ... we can't have that happen."

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Gase said he made the decision to fire Williams on Sunday night. He informed ownership and the front office Monday morning, with all sides in agreement that a change was needed.

Assistant head coach Frank Bush, who works with the Jets' inside linebackers, was named interim defensive coordinator for the team's remaining four games.

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"Obviously, he wasn't happy, but it's our profession," Gase said. "We've all been in that situation where we've lost our jobs."

The Raiders dropped the Jets to 0-12 after a miraculous deep pass in the final seconds of Sunday's game. Derek Carr delivered a perfectly placed 46-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III with five seconds remaining to lift the Raiders to a stunning 31-28 win over the Jets.

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On that third-down play, Williams called a risky eight-man blitz in a situation that typically calls for max coverage. The Jets held a four-point lead and just needed to prevent Carr and the Raiders from beating them over the top.

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The Cover-0 blitz left Jets rookie cornerback Lamar Jackson -- an undrafted free agent -- in man-to-man coverage with no safety help. Ruggs, who is one of the fastest players in the NFL, used his elite speed to create about two yards of separation and easily beat Jackson for the game-winning score.

Following the loss, Jets safety and team captain Marcus Maye openly criticized Williams' decision. Gase said he also questioned the blitz call and considered calling a timeout when he heard it in his headset.

"I hired Gregg because I trusted him to make the right calls and run the defense," said Gase, who noted that he never overruled one of Williams' calls. "... I wish I would've called timeout, but I didn't."

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Williams, who was a key figure in the New Orleans Saints' "Bountygate" scandal in 2012, becomes the first member of Gase's coaching staff to be fired this season. Gase is on the hot seat and could be dismissed at the conclusion of the 2020-21 campaign.

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