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Jets' Quinnen Williams Reveals What Led to Sideline Confrontation With Coach

Williams and head coach Robert Saleh both spoke about what seemed to be a sideline spat, shown on television camera during Sunday's loss to the Bengals.
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On television, it looked real bad. 

Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams stood up from the bench and barked at defensive line coach Aaron Whitecotton, getting up in his face. Whitecotton yelled back before the two were separated by other players and personnel on the sideline.

After the game, a 27-12 loss to the Bengals, Williams assured that what happened was far from a heated exchange, just two competitors wanting to win a ballgame.

Williams walked through the situation, telling reporters that the discussion was a result of Cincinnati's 54-yard touchdown from quarterback Joe Burrow to wideout Tyler Boyd. New York sent seven defenders on a third-down blitz. The pressure got to Burrow, but he found Boyd, who bounced off safety Jordan Whitehead and took it to the house.

Williams explained that he was telling Whitecotton in the moment that he wanted a call for a four-man rush in that situation, trusting that the defensive line can bring enough pressure to disrupt the quarterback without a blitz. Leave another couple defenders back, rather than blitzing, and that's a completely different play.

"It wasn't really a shouting match like everyone is making it seem," Williams said. "I just trust my D-line so much. Put it on our back to win this game. It came out of me to just challenge our D-line coach like, 'put it on our back, coach. You know what we got in this room. Four-man rush, we don't need all these extra blitzes and stuff like that. Put it on our back and let's go out there and rush.'"

To add some context, as noted by Rich Cimini of ESPN, that play was the first time that Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich has called a seven-man rush this season, according to NFL's Next Gen Stats. 

Williams has every right to be confident in that group. New York entered this season with strength and depth up front. The numbers haven't necessarily translated over these first few weeks, but it's their best position group on that side of the ball without question. 

He added that the two talked after the heightened discussion and moved forward. Williams said he noticed a turnaround with the defense at that point in the game as well.

"That's love," he said. "Defensive line, we argue all the time. It wasn't really an argument like it seemed. It was just a loud conversation, fans are out there and different stuff like that. We talked right after that, got on the right page and heard each other out. ... He's one of the best defensive line coaches I've ever had."

Jets head coach Robert Saleh wasn't concerned about it either.

"Quinnen is a competitor, he was challenging for a four-man rush," Saleh said. "He just wanted to rush four so he would have an opportunity to win his one on one. I love the fire, I love all of it. Obviously we don't need them to go jawing at each other, but he's being competitive so he's fine."


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