Cleveland Browns: Why Baker Mayfield had a sophomore slump
Head Coach Gregg Williams
The presumption has been that Gregg Williams was mainly involved with the defense, even after his promotion to head coach with the departure of Hue Jackson. However, that may be underselling Williams. This writer has always been a big fan of Williams due to his mastery of a variety of defenses. While he favors the blitzing style of his mentor, Buddy Ryan, he is also adept at Cover 2. Moreover, Williams was a college quarterback at Truman State University. He is not one dimensional as many people suppose.
The “bountygate” issue was a bad look and a lapse in judgement. But truth to tell, defenses really are a bit crazy and they really do try to knock people out of the game. The coach cannot say that to the press, but ask anyone who has played professional football and see what they say about it.
The defensive coordinator has to help his charges get a little wild. The head coach, on the other hand, has to be exceptionally well-organized and represent the team well at press conferences and the like. Williams did that as head coach.
There was rightfully some concern that the offense was improving much faster than the defense, and on that basis there was a preference for Kitchens over Williams as the 2019 head coach. It might well have been the case that, had the Browns not hired Kitchens as head coach, someone else would have.
Williams, on the other hand, went on to excel with the New York Jets. Most impressively, his Jets defense is based on the 3-4 defense because those are the pieces he found when he got there. How many coaches have to get rid of good players that don’t fit “the system?” The Jets were vastly improved in the 3-4 configuration, even though most of the time Williams has had teams run the 4-3 defense. It might also be mentioned that Williams’ defense with the Rams often used three defensive ends because he felt they were the best players.
Williams has cemented himself as a potential head coach in the NFL, though on the other hand he is having enough fun as a defensive coordinator that it might not happen for him. It should have happened in Cleveland, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight.