Even before Gregg Williams was fired Monday by the New Yok Jets, former coach Rex Ryan was calling the defensive coordinator’s fateful all-out blitz on the Las Vegas Raiders’ game-winning play the “dumbest” he’s ever seen.
“Been around the thing for 58 years, 30 years as a coach. That’s the dumbest call ever,” Ryan said on ESPN’s “Get Up!” program. “There’s no other way of putting it. There’s a time and place for Cover Zero. That thing sure ain’t it. It’s just stupid. It’s just absolutely stupid.”
The Jets (0-12) fired Williams later Monday morning, one day after the last-second touchdown throw from Derek Carr to rookie Henry Ruggs III kept them winless and still in position for the first overall pick in the draft, with four games remaining.
By rushing seven defenders, rookie cornerback Lamar Jackson was burned in one-on-one coverage against Ruggs for a 46-yard touchdown with five seconds remaining.
“Not only was it the stupidest call ever, they don’t even know how to run a dang Cover Zero blitz,” Ryan said. “And you wonder why they give up 400 yards a game. You wonder why this team hasn’t won a game.
“And the thing I feel bad about is for every one of those kids that have been a laughingstock of the league. The Jets have been the laughingstock of this league. And for you to put to those kids in that situation, to take the moment away from them, a win after all their hard work, that’s just ridiculous.”
Ryan served as the Jets’ head coach for six seasons from 2009-14, reaching the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two years in New York. He previously had been the defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens for four seasons.
“We all know this cat,” Ryan said of Williams. “He’s the biggest ego. Look, I’ve got a big ego, too, but I’m not stupid that way. Yes, I have an ego, and I will try to knock the hell out of the quarterback. But I’ll beat your protection. I don’t have to run Cover Zero every snap like this guy.”
In 2014, Ryan called a Cover Zero blitz in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings and got burned when Teddy Bridgewater hooked up with Jarius Wright on a wide receiver screen that went for a game-ending 87-yard touchdown.