The world according to Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is all good. He’s is the quintessential “What, me worry?’’ guy.
Williams, who Tuesday was made available to reporters for only the second time since he was hired in January, painted a very positive picture about the defense he’s running for head coach Adam Gase.
He insisted, despite the rash of injuries at the cornerback position — with starter Trumaine Johnson out indefinitely with a hamstring injury and backup Kyron Brown also nursing a sore hamstring — that his defense will carry on without excuse.
“It’s about playing with the guys you have,’’ the cocksure Williams said. “I’ve been doing that for 40 years. Everything is good. This is a good group of guys, good young group.’’
Safety Jamal Adams on Monday volunteered to move to cornerback if needed, prompting Williams to say, “He could do it. There’s no doubt about it. He’s a good enough athlete to do it. We haven’t even crossed that bridge with him, because he’s learning other positions, too. Multiple times I’ve had to do that — play a safety at the corner position on some places we’ve been.’’
One of the brightest spots to this summer for Williams has been watching the development of first-round pick Quinnen Williams on the defensive line.
“He brings a smile to my face,’’ Williams said. “He’s done very well. We’ve just scratched the surface with him. [Alabama coach] Nick Saban, great friend, just scratched the surface with him. Understand how young he is. He’s going to continue to move up and up. He has quickly gotten and earned the respect of other players and other veterans on the team with how he’s conducted himself. Good young man.’’
Williams then warned reporters: “Until you get a chance to be with him every day, you don’t realize how smart he is. In the conversations you have had with him, don’t be surprised if he makes you look like an idiot. He can. He’s very sharp.’’
One of Williams’ favorite topics is accountability, which is perhaps the most dramatic change he immediately brought to this defense since the firing of Todd Bowles and his staff after last season.
“It’s been that way for my whole life: Say what I mean, mean what I say,’’ Williams said. “You can’t BS players. The thing that is easily convinced when you go to a new place is to find the best guy there and make him do it. Then everybody else says, ‘Uh oh. Mom and dad didn’t make you do that stuff.’ Well, mom and dad couldn’t play, either.’’
The 61-year-old veteran coach of nine different NFL teams scoffed when asked about players handling his intense, thumb-on-your-neck coaching style.
“When we have to worry about the intensity of the players, we have the wrong players,’’ Williams said. “When we have to worry about the competition and the lack of competition in practice or games, we have the wrong people — coaches and players.
“There has been a smile on my face since I’ve walked in here,’’ he continued. “These young men want to compete — whether it’s an argument, whether they’re playing chess or checkers in the room, anything. I’m there to pull ‘em back if they go too far. That’s what I’m supposed to be doing. You can’t win at this level without that kind of competition.’’
He clearly revels in his high-intensity practices.
“We get a chance to get a really good evaluation on our guys in practice because of how hard and fast we practice,” Williams said. “So you get a chance to see it almost be game mode. Some of the places in our league it looks like a walk-through when they are practicing. How do you evaluate these guys in a walk-through? You can’t.
“With the competition of what we do, the players see that not only do they earn the trust of each other, but I have to earn the trust of them, too. They understand that I’ve been around a little while and can do a lot of different things and have seen a lot of different things.’’