FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Odell who?
Like most jokes, it had a shred of truth to it. Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams knows full well who Odell Beckham Jr. is and is keenly aware of the comments the Browns wide receiver made Thursday. He just doesn’t seem to care all that much.
And so, when asked Friday about his reaction to Beckham’s comments — the receiver said Williams told his then-Browns defense to “take out” Beckham during a preseason game against the Giants — Williams replied: “Odell who?”
It proceeded to go downhill from there.
In a contentious news conference at the Jets’ training facility, Williams said he has never told his defenses to intentionally injure another player. He also chastised reporters for giving Beckham’s comments credence (despite Williams’ own checkered history with dirty hits).
“We don’t do that,” Williams said definitively. “We’ve never done it anywhere I’ve been. We don’t do anything to hurt the team [by incurring penalties]. It’s the No. 1 primary thing. You’re committing penalties, those types of stuff, you just don’t do it. You guys [the media] are cooperating, giving him attention. Just don’t give him attention. It just is what it is.”
The Jets will face Beckham and the Browns on Monday night at MetLife Stadium.
Williams was suspended for a year for his involvement in the Saints’ “Bountygate” scandal for allegedly having a system in which he rewarded players for making big hits on opponents from 2009-11. After the suspension was meted out — it was termed indefinite at the time — Williams apologized for his role in the scandal. In April of the next year, audio was uncovered of Williams directing his defense to tear Michael Crabtree’s ACL in the previous season’s playoff game against the 49ers.
“Was that right or wrong?” he said when asked about his suspension Friday. “Again, I don’t want to talk about that. [I] want to talk about Cleveland. Next!”
He then was asked about the Crabtree audio. “What do you want? Anybody else got anything?” he replied.
Adam Gase said he’s seen no indication that Williams is instructing his team to be dirty. “From everything I’ve seen, we’re coaching it clean,” he said.
Said Leonard Williams, “I don’t think he’s dirty. I just think he’s a really aggressive, attack-style, defensive mindset . . . I definitely wouldn’t call Gregg a dirty guy.”
Gregg Williams said he didn’t take personal offense to Beckham’s comments, but when another reporter spoke of Beckham as being a “dynamic” player, he took exception. “That’s your opinion?” he said. “What’s New York’s opinion? The Giants’ opinion? What did the Giants do? So that’s not a question for me.”
He added that his defenses play aggressively but stop short of violating the rules and incurring unnecessary penalties, just as any unit in the NFL would.
“We play hard, physical, we play tougher for longer,” he said. “We do that and it’s not professional flag football.
It’s what we do, and we play very, very hard and we have to do everything not to hurt the team. We’ve got to attack. That’s what we do. We don’t react, we attack.’’
Either way, he said, he won’t let this latest ripple affect the players. That means he can’t let it affect him. “That’s just part of it,” he said. “You’ve got to set an example and I think most of the time, I’ve done a good job of that. Say what I mean, mean what I say.”
No IR for Darnold
Gase said Sam Darnold (mononucleosis) will not go on injured reserve with the intent to return, a move that would sideline him for eight weeks. That said, his return doesn’t seem imminent. “It’s not going to be that long,” Gase said of an IR stint before adding that the Jets understand the dangers of rushing back their quarterback. Mono can lead to an enlarged spleen that can burst on impact.
“Next week, we’ll worry about next week,” Gase said. “He’s not going to be put out there where something like that can happen.”
The Jets did not practice Friday, but Le’Veon Bell (shoulder) is expected to practice Saturday . “A little too aggressive on a Wednesday after playing 71 snaps Sunday,” Gase said. . . LB John Franklin-Myers (foot) also is expected to practice . . . DL Quinnen Williams (ankle) said he feels good but wouldn’t comment on his availability for Monday . . . LB C.J. Mosley (groin) said his rehab is progressing well and he’ll know better Saturday if he can play Monday.