Prior to the 2012 season, the St. Louis Rams envisioned a high profile coaching staff when they hired three well-known and successful commodities. The trio included head coach Jeff Fisher, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Fisher has already changed the culture of the Rams’ organization and Schottenheimer improved an offense that was stuck in neutral. Fisher and Schotty, to me, had the hardest task to complete.
Even in the 2011 NFL season, it was evident that the Rams’ defense was on the rise. Chris Long had a career year in sacks with 13 takedowns, James Laurinaitis has led the Rams in tackles since his rookie season, and Robert Quinn was a force on the edge even as a rookie; the building blocks were there. All Williams had to do was implement his playbook and showcase his fierce, reckless and tenacious mind through his players. Instead, he embedded his brass style of play into his players that ultimately led to the “Bounty Gate” scandal and a year long suspension. Williams never stepped a foot on the sidelines of the Edward Jones Dome.
Now, the vilified Williams has been reinstated by the NFL and newly hired as the Tennessee Titans’ senior assistant for defense. In Williams’ hiring, both players and coaches handed out in the Saints’ bounty scandal have come to an end. Williams will look to revamp a Titans’ defense that finished 26th in passing defense allowing 247 yards a game, 24th against the run giving up 127 yards on the ground and ranked dead last in scoring defense as teams averaged 29 points a game. Time will tell if his time off the field led him to reflect on his mistakes and maintained his coaching ability.
However, here is what question.
At his press conference, Williams was quoted saying:
I take full responsibility for my actions, and have used this year to reorganize my life…You can take any type of situation and use it as a chance to improve
A successful NFL franchise has comradely in the locker room and loyalty among the coaches and players. How can players, grown men, respect and take a man seriously who included forthcoming acknowledgement of and acceptance of responsibility for his role in the bounty program at the Saints?
At the sign of any trouble that may or may not come to Tennessee, who’s to say Williams won’t throw players or coaches under the bus again? Teams and draft analyst will drastically dock a player if he has character issues or wipe them off their draft board altogether. Handling a player with character issues is one thing, but when you’re selected to lead a team and be the puppeteer of your defense, you should be able to trust the man beside you. A man should be judged by the content of his character.