Make no mistake about it: Gregg Williams’ New York Jets defense drastically changes with Bradley McDougald replacing Jamal Adams.
Everything Gregg Williams did to create a unique defensive identity in 2019 is now gone. The unit starts from scratch, back to square one.
Sometime around Week 10 and 11, around the time the young quarterbacks started to hit the roster (Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins, etc.), the New York Jets defense began to come up with a specific identity that worked. Thanks to a lack of a four-man conventional rush, Williams’ defensive backs blitzed more than any secondary in the NFL, and pre-snap disguised zone coverages began to take hold.
Suddenly, Marcus Maye would begin low and end single-high. Jamal Adams would start on the edge and end up in a deep-outside-third. Cover 0 looks oftentimes turned into a Tampa 2 with slot man Brian Poole taking the hole responsibility.
It worked, and the main reason it worked is courtesy of No. 33. His versatility allowed it to work in so many ways.
Now, Bradley McDougald enters the fray, which means the Jets’ 2020 defense will look drastically different.
Fewer rigid safety looks
Thanks to Adams’ ability low and the unit’s need for pass-rushing, Adams was an in-the-box mainstay while Maye continued to roam high. Of course, both would take two-deep when called upon, but thanks to Adams’ versatility, the defense was designed to feature him wherever needed.
McDougald is familiar with playing in an interchangeable look. In 2019, he and free safety Tedric Thompson would often start two-deep with one of them sliding into a robber when called upon.