New Orleans Saints Tap Gregg Willams As New Defensive Coordinator
Just eight days after New Orleans Head Coach Sean Payton fired defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs, the team announced Thursday morning they had reached an agreement with prized defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Williams interview with Payton last Thursday, then again with the Packers on Friday. Williams was also scheduled to interview for the Texans vacant coordinator position but cancelled after his meetings with Payton and McCarthy.
There was also speculation that Williams may return to Tennessee if the Titans lost current defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to a head coaching job.
It seemed clear that New Orleans had targeted Williams considering him their top candidate for the position after their meeting as they had not scheduled any other interviews since.
Payton went on record stating the clubs interest was "very high" in Williams and that he was "impressed with his high level of competency" during the interview process.
The interest was definitely mutual as Williams agent announced Friday that he had an "extremely strong interest" in the Saints defensive coordinator position.
It seemed like just a matter of time before both parties reached an agreement.
Williams is considered one of the best defensive minds in football today. He is known for his aggressive, attacking, blitzing style 4-3 defensive schemes. This is a perfect fit for New Orleans who already run a 4-3 scheme with their current personnel.
His style of defense is exactly what the Saints need to help bolster a struggling pass rush that has consistently under achieved in pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
He should command much more output from the Saints defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith, both of whom have struggled of late with injuries and inconsistency since signing lucrative long-term contracts.
Williams defensive schemes are radically different from previous coordinator Gary Gibbs "bend but don't break" defensive approach that had the Saints ranked near the bottom in every category.
The Saints ranked 23rd in the NFL in total yards allowed and tied for 26th in points allowed last season under Gibbs.
Meanwhile Williams spent last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars who ranked 17th in total defense during his tenure. The Jaguars decided not to renew Williams' contract after last season due to what was called "differences in philosophical approach".
His one year at Jacksonville was not his best output as a defensive coordinator.
Williams has built superb defenses while coordinator with Tennessee from 1997-2000, as head coach of the Bills from 2001-2003, and again as defensive coordinator with the Redskins from 2004-2007. During that span Williams has spawned top ten defenses in five-of-the-past nine seasons including three top three's with three different teams in the past six years.
This will go down as one of the biggest free agent acquisitions for the Saints in 2009. The addition of Gregg Williams will make an immediate impact on a struggling Saints defense; Saint fans everywhere are giddy with the anticipation of seeing a rejuvenated defense next season.
The move may be exactly what New Orleans needs to be a Superbowl contender. Even if Williams is only able to improve the unit to a "middle of the road" defense, that paired with their league leading offense, may mean big things for the Saints next season.
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