On Thursday afternoon, Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich raised some eyebrows when he said he needed to be smart about defensive tackle Quinnen Williams’ snap count because he’s “gasping” for air at times.
Friday morning, Jets coach Robert Saleh said Ulbrich’s quote was taken out of context.
“Quinnen is in the best shape of his life,” Saleh said. “I’m not going to get into the details of what happened yesterday.
“A quote was taken and used against Jeff. We all know where Jeff’s heart is. He spent 15 minutes prior to that question showering Q [Williams] with praise.
“We have our rotations, we do things the way we do them. Quinnen is in phenomenal shape. It is kind of bush league to take a one-liner, but it is what it is.”
During his press conference Thursday, Ulbrich was asked why Williams only received 46 of 78 snaps in his performance in the 27-12 loss against the Bengals where he registered four tackles and a sack. Ulbrich said he needed to be smart about Williams’ snaps as they wanted to use him as much as they could in “critical moments.”
Some people on social media took Ulbrich’s comments to mean that Williams was not in great shape or that he was taking a shot at the fourth-year player.
Saleh said whatever Williams and Ulbrich have said about the situation, the Jets will keep it “in-house.”
The Jets defense has been in the news recently but for all the wrong reasons. Ulbrich’s comments are coming five days after Williams and Jets defensive line coach Aaron Whitecotton argued on the sideline after the team allowed a 56-yard touchdown to Tyler Boyd.
Williams said he wanted the Jets to use their front four to generate pressure on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. When Gang Green opted to send blitzes on the play, Williams was visibly upset and said he and his teammates were competitive.
“Two extremely passionate, fiery guys that love this game and love winning and love competing, and when you have guys that are built that way, which I think winning organizations and championship organizations, you need those type of people, coaches and players alike,” Ulbrich said Thursday.
“There are times where that gets heated, and it comes from a good place. It’s something that we don’t want to happen, obviously, but when it does happen, it’s not rooted in selfishness. It’s not rooted in my way, your way, it’s not rooted in anything from a negative perspective. It’s just two guys that love this game and love ball and want the best for this organization, want the best for this team, the best for their teammates and sometimes it boils over a little bit.”
It also doesn’t help that the Jets defense is ranked 31st on third down percentage as opposing teams are converting 51.3%of the time. To help correct that, the Jets tried to address that ahead of this weekend’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Although the Steelers offense is ranked 31st in the NFL [272.7 yards per game], they have several talented skill position players in running back Najee Harris and wide receiver George Pickens and Diontae Johnson.
“We added another third down period over the course of the week,” Saleh said. “We are trying to make sure we are precise on where we are at offensively and defensively.
“It comes down to execution and it comes down to calling plays in the right position, coaches and players alike. I got faith that it will come around as some of the mistakes that are happening are very fixable. I’m looking forward to trying to get it right.”
ZACH GETS GREEN LIGHT
Saleh announced that quarterback Zach Wilson would officially start in Sunday’s game against the Steelers. On Wednesday, Saleh said Wilson would start if “all goes well this week.”
The news isn’t so great for linebacker Quincy Williams. He is the only Jets player listed as out this week after an ankle injury he sustained last week against the Bengals. Cornerback Brandin Echols (hamstring) and John Franklin-Myers (toe) are both expected to play.
This content was originally published here.