Marty Lyons Says Jets Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams Will Be An NFL Head Coach Again
The work that Gregg Williams did this year was remarkable, the New York Jets defensive coordinator taking a unit beset by injuries and helping turn them into one of the best in the league. As such, it is remarkable that Williams didn’t get any serious consideration as a head coaching candidate this offseason, so says Jets legendary linebacker and broadcaster Marty Lyons.
This past season, the Jets were seventh in the NFL in total defense and second against the run, an indicator of a unit that was solid despite injuries and the fact that the team as a whole is still in the midst of a rebuild. But Williams, in his first season as the team’s defensive coordinator, pressed all the right buttons in getting the most from this group.
As the season wore on, it seems that nearly every opposing head coach praised Williams for the aggressive job he did with the defense. Prior to playing the Jets in Week 16, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin raved about Williams and the Jets defense.
So it was a bit of a surprise to see that Williams didn’t garner any serious interest as a head coaching candidate this offseason. Part of it is likely due to the fact that his last head coaching gig wasn’t so hot, ending with him being fired in 2003 after three seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
Williams did coach a handful of games last year as interim head coach of the Cleveland Browns, going 5-3.
Lyons, now a radio commentator and analyst for Jets games on ESPN New York, thinks Williams should be a lock to be a head coach again someday soon.
“Without a doubt, he can handle 53 men and I think he can discipline 53 men out there on the field. He loves the game of football,” Lyons told SI.
“He loves it and he’s good at what he does on the defensive side and I think if he was ever going to get a chance to be a head coach, he’d have to hire a good offensive coordinator and basically hold that offensive coordinator accountable for running the type of offense that will be successful. The offense has to complement the offense, the offense has to complement the defense and of course, special teams is so important.”
In his three years with the Bills, Williams was 17-31 without a playoff appearance. That perception of his lack of success as a head coach might be working against him as a viable candidate for open positions.
The idea might be that while he is an outstanding defensive coordinator, he might not be well-suited to be a head coach. Lyons doesn’t think that is the case.
And when asked why Williams isn’t interviewing for head coaching jobs, he can’t quite figure it out why a man who is such a defensive guru can’t get another head coaching job.
“I really don’t know why and you know what, I count myself as a fortunate broadcaster, a former player, I got to become good friends with him. He’s a good coach,” Lyons said.
“I really think he’s a good person too. I think he made some mistakes a long the way and I think he’s learned from those mistakes. One day, somebody is going to come knocking on the door and say, you know what, we need a new head coach and we want you to consider it. But the game is changing, the game is all offense. You think about how all these teams are just opening it up and throwing the ball so many times – except Tennessee.”
In addition to his radio work, Lyons continues to run the Marty Lyons Foundation. The organization, which is currently engaged in an aggressive fundraising campaign and seeking contributions as well as volunteers, helps fulfill the wishes of children diagnosed with terminal or life-threatening illnesses.
In 38 years, the Marty Lyons Foundation has raised over $39 million and helped 7,900 children have a wish fulfilled. In some cases, a second wish is granted and fulfilled when a child faces a terminal diagnosis.