Although his laundry list may not be too long, Williams still has a lot of work to do, especially with a defense as young as the Rams’. Photo credit - StLouisRams.com
In the unforgiving wilderness of the NFL, the motto is “kill or be killed,” more so than ever in the vicious NFC West.
With Gregg Williams commanding the talent-ridden defense, the Rams’ are already looking to make a killing on opposing offenses this upcoming season.
Despite what your opinions are of the polarizing defensive coordinator, the man known more for Bounty Gate than his work with 2009 New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl-winning defense, rest assured; this is the man that can do the job. This is the man that can take the young defense over to the next level. He can take the Rams defense from good to great.
Doing so won’t be too difficult a task. In the 2013 season, of the 185 drives the defense faced, only 31.4 percent of those drives led to points on the board.
Although his laundry list may not be too long, Williams still has a lot of work to do, especially with a defense as young as the Rams’.
In the previous season, the Rams allowed the most first downs via penalty with a whopping 47, which was the result of lack of discipline and stupidity. Both of which, will not stand with Williams.
When speaking of Williams, former players like Matt Bowen describe him as a no-nonsense, hard-nosed motivator who leads his player much like a drill sergeant leads new recruits through boot camp.
Bowen, who is now a journalist working for Bleacher Report and the National Football Post, recounts his time under Williams:
“Williams had three rules written up on the chalkboard in his defensive team meeting room:
1.) Be on time
2.) Touch all lines
3.) Buckle your chinstrap
That’s it. Be accountable for your actions.
Within five minutes during that first meeting, I knew this was the guy I wanted to play for. He commanded that meeting room, spoke with supreme confidence and let us know right away that things were going to change at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va.
Hey, Williams can coach. He can motivate. And he absolutely demands accountability from his players. Forget contracts, where you were drafted, etc.
Miss tackles? Bust coverages? Give up plays over the top? Well, then you are probably going to sit. And I’ve been there after giving up the deep one.
That isn’t fun.”
Going over some of the defensive schemes Williams’ has run in the past, it has become apparent that Williams like to blitz, a lot, which can produce a lot of great results for a defense already known as “Sack City.” In Williams’ playbook, he uses a lot of Nickel packages (five defensive backs) and sends an outside blitzer (most often a corner back) to get the quarterback.
"He likes to attack. He's not one of those guys to sit there and react to what the offense is doing. He always claims we're going to dictate to the offense and set the tempo and stop what they want to do first and make them do something else,” James Laurinaitis said to the press after a June 17 practice.
But with every great reward, there is a great risk. In the blitz packages, the defense calls for other corners to make up the ground given away by the blitzer. Williams will need to work hard with his young defensive backs, like Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McCleod, closely to pull off these kinds of blitz packages effectively.
The great thing about Williams is he’s knowledgeable and passionate enough to work with any position player individually to teach his system. Not to mention Williams has already been putting in long hours outside of practice to teach this defense to his players before training camp.
“I’ve been working Saturdays and Sundays. I’ve been working late at night just because there’s a lot to get caught up on, and the (defensive) buck stops with me,” Williams told Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Jeff (Fisher)’s brought me back to do those things.”
Since the Fisher-Snead era began, most of the attention has been focused on offense, and rightfully so. But with Bradford looking healthier, the offensive line looking more mature and the running back situation looking stronger, it’s time to turn the attention back to defense.
More specifically in the backfield, where the Sack City address is listed.