Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Gregg Williams gives Rams new edge
By Mike Sando
"Fiery" and "abrasive" are among the adjectives Gregg Williams has attracted during more than two decades as an NFL coach.
Throw in "combative" as well.
Williams' addition to the St. Louis Rams as defensive coordinator further enlivens a division brimming with, shall we say, compelling personalities. I only wish Williams and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh were the ones bound by tradition to shake hands following Rams-49ers games.
The Rams made available Williams on a media conference call Tuesday, right after a session with new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The contrast between the two men jumped out. Williams was much less bashful about promoting his own achievements and standing within the league. That will rub some the wrong way, but everywhere Williams has gone, players have raved about what he brings to a defense.
Among the comments from Williams I found notable:
- On his son, Blake, joining the staff: "He's the best young coach I’ve ever had in 32 years. I’ve got several in head-coaching positions in the National Football League now that have coached under me or either played for me." Williams then listed some of those coaches, including Jerry Gray and Dennis Allen.
- On changing the Rams' culture: "Everywhere I’ve been, that's been why people hire me. People want that aspect of figuring out that when they've bought stock in particular players, when they've drafted them and then paid them in particular enormous amounts of money at some time, who is at fault? Is it the decision makers that chose them or is it the young men that haven’t figured out what it takes to play in the National Football League for effort, professionalism and all those types of things, and accountability. So, I've been able to do that everywhere I’ve been able to go. I get way too much credit for the X’s and O’s about what we do, but my specialty is handling people, especially difficult people."
- On his style: "What we’ll do defensively here is I'll adapt to them; they won't adapt to me. What you’ll see is that everywhere I’ve gone, I've been able to get a top-five defense during the time I’m there, anywhere from one to four, one to five, in all of the stops I've made. When we do that, it’s because I will adapt to the strengths of the people there."
- On going against Schottenheimer: "We played them a few times and I have a tremendous respect for him. I also have tremendous respect that he is a coach’s son, just like my son is a coach's son. You know, that’s not easy. It's not easy following in the footsteps of dad who's successful in this league."
That Williams' bold approach appeals to players could have implications within the division. More on that in a bit.