I wanted to address this issue last night, but the server was down and I was unable to get anything posted. By now pretty much everyone has heard about the New Orleans Saints “bounty” saga, and everyone knows that new Rams defensive coordinator is at the center of this entire scandal. First of all, I know I’m probably going to take some heat for my position on this, so let me preface my opinion by saying that I in no way condone intentionally injuring another human being in any walk of life, especially in football. To target another man’s health and livelihood is never the right answer.
With that being said, I have to say that I’m not going to hammer Williams for this whole deal. First of all, there’s no way the Saints and Williams are the only ones in the league who have this kind of “pay for play” policy within the organization. It seems to me that this is a situation where everyone is doing it, but someone always has to take the fall. The Saints are that team in this instance. Also, I want to give Williams credit for releasing a statement through the Rams right away when the news broke taking responsibility for his actions and apologizing. It doesn’t clear him of wrongdoing or anything, but he manned up and owned his role in the situation instead of hiding behind someone else.
Now, on to the real reason I don’t want to kill Williams over this. The Rams have been a notoriously “soft” team over the last several years, and I think that reputation is deserved. I’m not going to put all the blame on former coach Steve Spagnuolo, but his four pillars didn’t exactly allow for the team to bring in many guys who have that nasty streak in them. I like that we have a defensive coordinator who is serious about his unit being tough and being feared by the opposition. Did he take it too far with the “bounty” and “killshot” bonuses? You bet he did. But this also proves that he demands a certain level of play from his players. I want the Rams’ defense to be a unit that makes other teams scared to come play. I want quarterbacks on other teams to be intimidated because they know they are going to get hit hard and hit often when they play the Rams. I want receivers to be afraid to come across the middle when they play the Rams. Williams might have gone about this thing the wrong way, but at least we know we have a coach who is going to bring an edge to this group that hasn’t been there recently. If Hall of Famers Brett Favre and Kurt Warner, two guys who had bounties put on their heads, don’t have a hug problem with this, then I don’t think I do either.
The Combine Report will be back in the coming days, as we still have the entire defensive side of the ball to look at. Make sure you check back for the updates.