What Does DC Gregg Williams' Suspension Mean for the St. Louis Rams?

Justin GibsonCorrespondent IIIMarch 21, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 21:  Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams of the New Orleans Saints calls a play against the Houston Texans at the Louisiana Superdome on August 21, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The NFL has given St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams a knockout blow of his own today for running a bounty system while in New Orleans.

For his role in the "Bountygate" scandal, league commissioner Roger Goodell handed down an indefinite suspension to the new Rams defensive coordinator, which will include the entire 2012 season.

The suspension will begin immediately.

According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Jim Thomas, Williams' status will be reviewed by the league and a determination will be made based off how he cooperates in future meetings over the matter.

In addition to a $500,000 fine and forfeiture of two 2nd round draft picks this year and next, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis have each been suspended for one season and half a season respectively

According to Thomas, Williams has admitted he intentionally misled NFL safety investigators when first approached about a pay for injury bounty program in 2010. Thomas points out that the penalty handed down to Williams was much more severe than the Rams planned, as something in the range of eight-games was expected.

Due to the suspension being effective immediately, Williams will not be able to work with Rams defensive players during any offseason activities to begin installing his defensive schemes. Payton's suspension will begin April 1.

101ESPN analyst Tony Softli said leaked information on the NFL's conversations with Williams revealed the league told him to stop with the bounty program, yet he continued. Softli described the conversations as "disturbing."

So where do the Rams go from here? First things first, will head coach Jeff Fisher fire his best friend in light of the suspension?

Probably not.

Fisher and Williams both coached together under the original bounty godfather, Buddy Ryan, who became well-known for his "Bounty Bowl" games against the Dallas Cowboys when he coached the Philadelphia Eagles.

During this time, Ryan is believed to have had a bounty on quarterback Troy Aikman amongst other players.

So at the very least, Fisher cannot be surprised with Williams' involvement in "Bounty Gate," and would not be expected to fire him over the revelations of his time in New Orleans. Before signing with the Rams, Fisher was touted as a free agent coach who was tough, gritty and whose teams left it all on the field.

Williams' misgivings as a Saints defensive coordinator is a league issue, and the Rams shouldn't be expected to become involved with further discipline such as a termination unless it effects the franchise long term.

Rather than ousting Williams altogether, a reasonable assumption may have the Rams turning to assistant head coach Dave McGinnis to serve as interim defensive coordinator, as been speculated by many. McGinnis coached the Tennessee Titans' linebackers for seven years, and spent six seasons as the assistant head coach under Fisher.

McGinnis could invoke a defensive system to Fisher's liking for one-year then hand over the reigns to Williams in 2013 without having much of a negative effect on the organization.

While the whole situation is not ideal, the team does have options to prevent an imploding at Rams Park.