The overreaction to the Avery Williamson injury is one that’s immense yet so predictable. Calm down, New York Jets fans; this is the game of football.
FLORHAM PARK, NJ—It’s a dark, muggy August night in Northern Jersey. Cold showers are needed by all involved, yet the sweat of an 80-degree night can’t stop the fiery objective.
The Jersey Devil couldn’t temper this crowd’s mood on its greatest day.
The mob is out and the pitchforks are in-hand, moving up and down while New York Jets fandom chants obscenities not suited for any youngster under the age of 12 (actually, 18).
The target is as clear-cut as a Jerry Rice slant pattern in the West Coast offense. It’s Adam Gase, the man who frantically purchased a brand new Brinks Home Security in order to make it to the next football day.
Allowing Avery Williamson to play with the second-teamers against the Atlanta Falcons served to be Gase’s first crushing blow as Jets sideline boss. The veteran stud inside linebacker drew friendly-fire from cornerback Tevaugh Campbell, resulting in a torn ACL and a completely lost season.
It’s a shame. It’s a damn shame for the 27-year-old leader of the Jets defense a year ago, who amassed 120 tackles and three sacks. Nobody enjoys this part of the deal that is the contract entered into when football is the love of an individual’s soul.
Simultaneously, those who willingly walked into such a contract understand what such a piece of news represents; and it has nothing to do with Gase’s perceived court jester move.
This is football. This stuff happens. And the very moment any one man begins to worry about injuries piling up is the instant he’s become lost within himself. It signals the beginning of the end, a scared coach or player attempting to navigate through the game in foolhardy fashion.
We don’t yet know why Williamson remained in the game. The answer to why he was running with the second-teamers in the first place remains a mystery.
Perhaps it dealt with previous injuries sustained in camp. For several days, A-Will was absent at Florham Park. His reps were limited with the complex world of a Gregg Williams defense, and, quite obviously, that’s an issue.
What Williams is currently trotting out onto the field is nothing short of Rubik’s Cube-like. A 3-4 on paper (via personnel) with a 4-3 (hybrid front) in practice is something to be taken on with great practice and repetition.
Maybe it was structural. Williamson was, in essence, the No. 2 MIKE. If C.J. Mosley is on the sideline or in the locker room for any reason, it’s Williamson who takes the special helmet designated for that all-important radio signal.
When looking at the projected 53-man roster, carrying just three inside linebackers, Mosley, Williamson and Blake Cashman, felt practical. Considering Brandon Copeland is playing a ton of second-level backer (mainly as the WILL in the 4-3), and the need for extra bodies at EDGE and cornerback are apparent, carrying just three could have been the order of the moment. This means Williamson is the No. 2 MIKE and required No. 2 MIKE reps which were only available to him with the second-team.
At camp, James Burgess has been the man running the true No. 2 MIKE role with the second team. Williams’s constant shuffling of personnel packages and looks requires a starter mixing it up with the next unit, at times.
There’s no risk involved with that action whatsoever. Why? Well, because football is all risk no matter the situation, and the moment any coach or player starts thinking about those risks is the instant he falls flat just a bit.
It’s this common logic that leads to such contrasting thoughts between football coaches/players and fans/media members. The latter can’t understand why a Williamson-type would ever play 30 snaps in a meaningless preseason game. The former already knows why, and he understands it’s completely justified in its rational thought process. The latter gets crazy when Tom Brady is still slinging the football in the fourth quarter of a lopsided game. Bill Belichick knows it’s some of these decisions that’s helped lead to six Vince Lombardi trophies.
This is football. Availability is the top attribute of every active and/or inspiring player. But availability in an overprotective environment leads to unbalanced results.
As far as what the here-and-now looks like, calm down; the Williamson injury, while a blow, can’t take on an apocalyptic feel. Despite conventional thought, depth is still present.
- C.J. Mosley
- Blake Cashman
- Neville Hewitt
- James Burgess
- Anthony Wint
Copeland, Jordan Jenkins and Frankie Luvu are also experiencing time at the position. One man’s misfortune is another man’s great opportunity.
This is football.
While roaming Morristown and the surrounding areas for the Gase family home, remember that short yet oh-so-sweet sentence that holds true through the thickest and most unsensible of times …
This is football. This stuff happens at the most inopportune and most logical of times.
A Vinny Testaverde Achilles in Week 1 (when, to fans, it “theoretically” counted) will smack you in the face no matter the strategy. A Drew Bledsoe scramble down the right sideline only to be met by a killer named Mo Lewis will feel like the worst of times for one fan base, only to reverse fortunes in a near-fictional-like fashion. A Trent Green injury served as the Grim Reaper coming to rob an entire city (St. Louis) of great experiences. … only, until it didn’t.
For all Jets fans know, an Avery Williamson ACL just presented a fanbase with a future Hall of Fame linebacker in his stead. You just don’t know.
This is football. Calm down while you raise your pitchfork so viciously loud and proud. It might just be the best decision you’ve made this year.