Bradley McDougald knew his Jets’ experience would be different.
Maybe not this unique. Welcome to the world of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
“Every day is different,” said the veteran safety who was acquired from Seattle in the Jamal Adams trade this summer. “I’m adjusting and learning every day.
“I have played eight years in the NFL, and I feel like a rookie in certain situations. We just had a scrimmage, but every day in cam is considered a game.”
McDougald, who is slotted to play string safety, is among a horde of new secondary members this fall — mainly cornerbacks – who are acclimating themselves to Williams’ creative style. He has played both positions, and all of the adjustments follow one apparent simple procedure.
“I have to adjust and make sure my eyes are in the right places,” added McDougald. “We all know we have some fine tuning to do, and we have to find ways to be successful.”
Jets’ defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson likes to refer to his unit as “The Wall.”
“Every player needs to have a sense of urgency,” said Wilson on nyjets.com. “We’re trying to build a wall. There has to be cohesiveness, trust, and accountability. If the whole group is not playing together, we’re not playing well.”
Pro Football Focus had the Jets’ secondary ranked 16th last season with Brian Poole achieving the highest cover grade in the slot (80.0). In the league, the Jets were ranked seventh overall, allowing an average of 18.6 points per game and 236 passing yards per contest.
Wilson, who coached the Rams’ secondary before he joined the Jets in 2017, understands the obvious whole left with the departure of All-Pro safety Jamal Adams.
“No matter who is there, it will be the same philosophy,” added Wilson. “Jamal is a hellava players and he will do well.
“It’s the same process. Everybody has to be accountable. Our main focus is to get everyone into role.”
With Adams gone, the role of leader falls to safety Marcus Maye, who was healthy or the entire season last year in his three-year career and can be a free agent after the season.
“I think he came well prepared,” said Wilson about Maye. “He is ahead of the curve right now. He believes what he sees. I am very proud of him, and he is ready to take the next step.”
Wilson also likes what he has seen from former Colt corner Quincy Wilson and former free agent and Rutgers standout Bless Austin.
Currently, Wilson, Austin, Pierre Desir, Nate Hairston, Arthur Maulet, are battling for the two spots with Brian Poole returning to his productive nickel back position.
“The biggest thing I saw with (Quincy) Wilson was his loss of confidence,” stressed Wilson. “It has been a matter of getting him to believe in himself and help him make plays.”
Quincy Wilson saw the move to the Jets as a saving grace.
“When I got traded it was a good day, probably one of the best days of my life,” said Wilson. “A lot of things went wrong in Indy. I’m just happy for this new opportunity, this new situation I’m in that’s way better. I’m just ready to show that I can play.”
In September, that’s what it will be all about.
Photo from the NY Jets