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Gase hires Gregg Williams as Jets’ defensive coordinator

January 16, 2019
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FILE - In this Dec. 30, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Browns head coach Gregg Williams speaks at a news conference after an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, in Baltimore. Gregg Williams has been hired, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, as the New York Jets' defensive coordinator, the first major staff addition by Adam Gase since he became coach. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
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FILE - In this Dec. 30, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Browns head coach Gregg Williams speaks at a news conference after an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, in Baltimore. Gregg Williams has been hired, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, as the New York Jets' defensive coordinator, the first major staff addition by Adam Gase since he became coach. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Gregg Williams was hired Wednesday as the New York Jets’ defensive coordinator, the first major staff addition by Adam Gase since he became coach.

The team also announced it has retained special teams coordinator Brant Boyer, whose unit had a standout season.

The 60-year-old Williams went 5-3 as Cleveland’s interim coach this season after Hue Jackson was fired. At his introductory news conference Monday, the offensive-minded Gase said he was looking for a “head coach of the defense” while he focuses heavily on the other side of the ball.

“We always appreciated competing against him,” Gase told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “It was always a challenge. Always loved the way his guys played, the intensity they played with. They defended every blade of grass. I mean, they would always get after it.”

Williams is a controversial figure as he was suspended by the NFL for the entire 2012 season for his role in the “Bountygate” scandal in New Orleans. Saints defensive players were paid bonuses for injuring opposing team players.

Williams has since worked with Tennessee, the Rams and Browns — the past two as defensive coordinator. He previously was the head coach of Buffalo for three seasons, and has also served as the defensive coordinator for the Titans, Washington and Jacksonville.

The 47-year-old Boyer will be one of a likely few holdovers from former coach Todd Bowles’ staff. After the Jets struggled at times during his first two seasons with the team, New York’s special teams unit was an overwhelming bright spot. The analytics site Football Outsiders ranked the Jets first in the NFL, while Pro Football Focus placed them fifth.

Kick returner Andre Roberts was selected to The Associated Press All-Pro Team and voted to the Pro Bowl after finishing first in the league with 14.1 yards per punt return and ranking second in kickoff return average at 29.4 yards. He also scored one touchdown each on kickoffs and punts.

Jason Myers, who like Roberts was in his first season with the Jets, broke the NFL record for most field goals of 55 yards or more in a season with five and the franchise record for most field goals in a game with seven.

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