Saturday, November 2, 2013
Morning Ram-blings: The Williams effect
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Gregg Williams will coach a defense at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday but it won't be the one that he probably envisioned as recently as January of 2012.
Gregg Williams, one of Jeff Fisher's first hires with the Rams, is instead leaving his stamp on the Titans' defense after his return from a season-long suspension.
Williams was one of Rams coach Jeff Fisher's first hires when he took over the job last year, brought on to be the team's defensive coordinator. That never panned out how either side envisioned when the NFL suspended Williams for the year because of his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal. Williams faded into NFL oblivion and resurfaced in Tennessee this year as a defensive consultant.
As the Rams and Titans prepare to face off this week, much has been made of Fisher's knowledge of Tennessee and head coach Mike Munchak's system but it's certainly a two-way street, at least on defense. Although Jerry Gray is the defensive coordinator, Williams' imprint on the defense -- lots of blitzing, plenty of press coverage -- is obvious.
"Absolutely, you can see Gregg's fingerprints on that," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "I think Jerry Gray does a great job. I think they're very well-coached. It will be a good challenge for us. The good news is there is some carryover from what we saw last week with Seattle coming off the Monday night game in terms of the eight-man front and some of the stuff we'll have to block. So, that does help you."
Fisher and Williams were once thought to be close friends, a relationship likely strained by what happened with Williams' status in St. Louis and the Rams parting ways with Williams' son Blake after one season last year.
Asked about Williams earlier this week, Fisher told the Tennessee media that he hasn't spoken to Williams much in the past year. Asked again Wednesday by St. Louis media, he didn't offer much more.
"I really never talked to him during the season anyway," Fisher said. "I'm sure I'll see him on Sunday."
A morning roundup of Friday's Rams stories appearing here on ESPN.com. ... We began the day with a look at why Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan is getting the last laugh on the success of Tennessee cornerback Alterraun Verner. ... Next, we looked at the Rams' need to keep the momentum on defense after a dominant outing against Seattle. ... On the injury wire, we looked at the potential for new looks at running back with three backs listed as questionable. ... Finally, we discussed the news about Jacksonville receiver Justin Blackmon with a look back at what might have been had he slipped to the Rams at No. 6.
At stltoday.com, columnist Bryan Burwell provides this video look at the Rams-Titans game.