By Darryl Slater | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
New Jets coach Adam Gase has made it clear that his team’s top mission is to dethrone Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC East.
And as the Jets aim to do that, Gase believes defensive tackle Quinnen Williams — the third overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft — could be a key weapon.
“I think it’s really going to be something that could help our defense, especially up the middle,” Gase said Friday of the Jets picking Williams. “The push up the middle is going to be big for us, especially in this division.”
Typically, teams that can get a good pass rush push up the middle are effective against Brady.
Friday, when the Jets began their rookie orientation weekend, marked Gase’s first public comments about Williams, since Gase didn’t speak to reporters on draft weekend.
Williams played all over the defensive line at Alabama, and Gase envisions something similar happening with the Jets under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
“With the way Gregg does things, he’ll play a lot of different spots,” Gase said of Williams’ role with the Jets. “Everybody plays a lot of spots [on the defensive line in Williams’ system]. There’s a lot of different personnel groupings. Nobody is really set in one area.”
So expect to see Williams lining up some as a traditional nose tackle, some as a three-technique tackle (on the offensive guard’s outside shoulder), and perhaps some on the edge of the Jets’ defensive line, to take advantage of his quickness.
“Gregg moves these guys around so much, it’s hard to really pinpoint them,” Gase said.
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The presence of Williams also figures to free up defensive end Leonard Williams for more sack opportunities. That’s what Gase figures, at least, since he knows Leonard Williams’ strengths from having faced him as Miami’s coach the past three seasons. Perhaps now, teams won’t be able to throw as many double teams at him, since they’ll have to account for Quinnen Williams.
“I think any time that you can have a talented player next to Leonard, that’s a positive for him, because he attracts a lot of attention,” Gase said. “I know that’s how I used to look at Leonard. We tried to get four hands on him as much as possible [with double teams]. We never wanted him to be singled up, because we felt like we were in trouble if he was.”
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