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Williams rising to the top

January 6th, 2004
A week after the firing of defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, former Bills Head Coach Gregg Williams is the leading candidate to take over the Jets defense. Also: A complete list of the 2004 NY Jets opponents. A week after the firing of defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, former Bills Head Coach Gregg Williams is the leading candidate to take over the Jets defense.

Early speculation had Bucs defensive line and assistant Head Coach Rod Marinelli as a shoe in to take over for Cottrell due to him being close to the Jets Coach and also him having similar defensive philosophies as Herm. However, the Jets have not gotten permission to speak to Marinelli as of yet and that likely won’t change until the Bucs hire a new GM. Ironically that new GM could be Mike Tannenbaum who is currently the Jets assistant GM. Tannenbaum interviewed for the position yesterday and right now is speculated to be the front runner for the job.

Williams interviewed with the Jets on Friday and there is a possibility that an offer to him could come at any time. Williams would be a great fit for the team and runs a style of defense that is similar to what the Jets now run only more aggressive. Despite the Bills finishing with a 6-10 record this season they had the 2nd ranked defense in the league. Also, prior to being the Bills coach, Williams was the defensive coordinator in Tennessee where he coached a team that made it to the Superbowl.

Giants defensive coordinator and former Jet Johnny Lynn was interviewed yesterday but isn’t considered to be a strong candidate. The more likely scenario for Lynn would be to take over the secondary which used to be run by recently fired coach Bill Bradley. Raiders DC Chuck Bresnahan, Titans LB Coach Gunter Cunningham, Eagles LB Coach Ron Rivera, Ravens DB Coach Donnie Anderson and former Cardinals head coach Dave McGinnis have all been mentioned as being on the interview list. Cunningham and Rivera are not available to interview until their teams are eliminated for post-season play.

It looks like Ted Cottrell won't be out of work for long. Cottrell is interviewing this week for the DC position in Minnesota that was recently vacated by George O'Leary and printed reports say the job is his if he wants it.

Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hackett is safe for the upcoming season thanks mostly to Chad Pennington’s lobbying for him. However, after a Hackett-Edwards pow-wow this week, the feedback is that Edwards will take a more active role in gameplanning and play calling. Look for less halfback draws on third and long and an overall more aggressive offense next season (Thank God).

The Jets opponents for 2004 are set and here is the complete list. Dates will be released in April just prior to the draft.

Home: Baltimore, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, New England, Miami, Buffalo

Away: Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Arizona, San Diego, St. Louis, New England, Miami, Buffalo.

There is a bit of a silver lining to the Jets losing their final game in Miami. First of all, the loss gave them the 12th pick in the draft opposed to the 16th if they’d have won. Second, the loss saved them a trip to Oakland in 2004 which would have been their sixth year in a row traveling to the Black Hole. Instead, thanks to their last place finish in the division, they will travel to sunny San Diego to face the Chargers.

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