Updates from Wednesday, Feb. 12
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has the latest on Gregg Williams:
Rams have announced the hiring of Gregg Williams as their defensive coordinator, a move agreed to before the Super Bowl— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 12, 2014
Things move fast in the NFL, but the St. Louis Rams are on a neck-breaking pace.
Shortly after an announcement that the Rams were parting ways with defensive coordinator Tim Walton, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jeff Fisher immediately moved on to hire Gregg Williams, former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator and Tennessee Titans senior assistant defensive coach.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the news:
From @mortreport: Rams plan to hire Gregg Williams as their defensive coordinator to replace Tim Walton.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 29, 2014
When Fisher was hired by the Rams, he initially hoped to bring in Williams, per ESPN's Chris Mortensen:
Gregg Williams, who was always Jeff Fisher's preferred choice as DC, is expected to replace Tim Walton in St Louis. Sources— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 29, 2014
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora confirmed the report:
Can confirm ESPN report, Gregg Williams agreed to mutli-year deal to return to Rams as defensive coordinator— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 29, 2014
Williams was in deep water after being suspended by the NFL back in March 2012 due to the Saints' "Bountygate" scandal. He reportedly set up a bounty program for his defensive players to earn incentives from big hits.
Mark Maske of The Washington Post noted that several former Washington Redskins players confirmed the reports:
Four of the Redskins players described an informal system under which Williams doled out thousands of dollars to Redskins defenders who measured up to his standards for rugged play, including for what one described as “kill shots” that sent opposing teams’ stars to the sideline.
“You got compensated more for a kill shot than you did other hits,” said one former Redskins player, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Upon his reinstatement, the former defensive coordinator and head coach of the Buffalo Bills was hired by the Titans, Fisher's former team, as an assistant coach. During his one season with the team, Tennessee's defense went from 27th in the NFL in terms of yards per game allowed to 14th.
That type of change provoked Michael Schottey of Bleacher Report to praise Williams, but he also pointed out that it will be difficult to forget his past:
Gregg Williams did great work for Tennessee last year, but that’s gonna bring a big league spotlight and some players distrust him.— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) January 29, 2014
Is this a good move for the Rams?
Coming into a team that was already 15th in the league in total defense and ranked third in sacks in 2013, Williams is coming into a situation where he can thrive. His style of coaching will also fit in well with the NFC West division, which already features three other defenses that finished in the top six in total defense in the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.
As a defensive coordinator, Williams won the Super Bowl with the Saints and has a track record of improving defenses, much like he did with the Titans in 2013. For a team on the rise like the Rams, he could be the one key to put them over the top.
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