There will be no pregame niceties between Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams when Cleveland and New York face off on “Monday Night Football.” On Thursday, Cleveland’s star receiver called out Williams, who was the team’s defensive coordinator and interim head coach last year before Beckham arrived, for teaching “cheap shots" and "dirty hits.”
When asked whether he expected the Jets to play man coverage against him, Beckham launched into his thoughts on the longtime coach.
“The only thing I’m buying is probably just got to watch out for the cheap shots and the dirty hits and all of the things that he likes to teach. That’s pretty much all we got to watch out for,” Beckham said.
Beckham’s wariness seemingly stems from a 2017 preseason game between Williams’s Browns and Beckham’s Giants. Beckham suffered a high ankle sprain in that game, and on Thursday he said he believed Williams was at fault. Beckham said that current teammates in Cleveland told him Williams ordered his defense to target the star receiver.
“I had players on this team telling me that that’s what he was telling them to do — take me out of the game — and it’s preseason,” Beckham said.
Williams responded Friday in a news conference, jokingly asking “Odell who?” before defending his coaching style.
“We don’t do that,” Williams said in regards to teaching cheap shots and dirty hits. “I’ve never done that anywhere I’ve been. We don’t do anything to hurt the team. It’s the number one, primary thing. If you’re committing penalties, you’re doing those types of stuff, we just don’t do it.”
Williams then shifted the attention on the media: “You guys are cooperating giving him attention. Just don’t give him attention.”
A reporter asked a follow-up question, stating Beckham was “one of the most dynamic players in the league.”
“That’s your opinion,” Williams fired back. “What’s New York’s opinion? The Giants’ opinion? What did the Giants do? That’s not a question for me.”
Williams, who spent 2004 to 2007 as defensive coordinator with the Redskins, was suspended from the NFL for one year for his involvement in the Saints’ “Bountygate” scandal in 2012. A league investigation found that Williams had taken part in a system that offered defensive players financial bonuses for causing injuries.
“Was that right or wrong? And again, I don’t want to talk about that,” Williams said. “Next!”
“We play hard. We play hard, fast, physical,” Williams added. “We play tougher for longer. We do that. It’s not professional flag football. Okay? This is 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. We play hard. And those guys over there, they know that. Those players over there know that too. All the really good players in the league know that, that’s how you do it, offensively, defensively, special teams, you do that.”
Jets safety Jamal Adams defended his coach on social media Friday afternoon, tweeting “G Dub! I luv you, coach! Got your back!”
Jets Coach Adam Gase also put his support behind his defensive coordinator.
“I can’t say what [Beckham’s] saying because I’ve never heard that,” Gase said. “Everything I’ve heard from Gregg Williams and our staff has been the type of things that we want football to be played like, which is about it’s about us, energy, effort. I mean, everything I’ve seen, we’re coaching it clean.”
While the preseason hit only caused a sprained ankle, Beckham believes it led to a series of injuries that altered his career.
“That high ankle sprain led to the, the broken ankle on the left and then, which led to conversations in many different areas, and kind of like a little spiral,” he said. “It’s something that I’ll never forget. It’s something that, it changed my life forever, so I don’t necessarily regret it, of course. I wish it didn’t happen, but it did. So, yeah, that led to the ankle, for sure.”
Beckham joined the Browns via trade shortly after the end of Williams’s tenure.
“If I was a coach, I would never teach what he teaches,” Beckham said. “But that’s just him and what he does.”