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The biggest concern about Gregg Williams and the Rams 2014 defense

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by Prime Time, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. Prime Time

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    Feb 9, 2014
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    Cumberland, Maryland
    Not much new or interesting in this article. I mainly posted it for the pic of Gregg Williams. That's one scary looking, ticked off dude, lol. No wonder the players jump when he starts yelling.

    After this article I also posted the Matt Bowen piece mentioned in this article on Gregg Williams defense. This has been posted before but in case you missed it...

    The biggest concern about Gregg Williams and the Rams 2014 defense

    By northwestRAMSfan@troilus22 on Aug 13 2014

    Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    One of the Rams biggest offseason acquisitions was Gregg Williams. The notorious defensive coordinator is expected to be a shot in the arm for a defense on the verge of becoming one of the leagues best.

    On February 12, 2014, the St. Louis Rams announced they had hired Gregg Williams to take over at defensive coordinator for the recently dismissed Tim Walton. A mere 10 days after Super Bowl 48 was dominated by a top defense, the Rams were sending a message to the rest of the NFL. Hiring one of the most creative, and aggressive, defensive coordinators of the Super Bowl era sent a clear message regarding the Rams intended return path to Super Bowl glory.

    A defensive line loaded with first round talent, anchored by the best edge rusher in the NFL, and a solid linebacking corps likely provide Williams with the best front 7 he's ever coached. A talented but inexperienced, and often undisciplined, secondary offers Williams the biggest opportunity to "coach up" the defense and put them squarely into the upper echelon of the NFL.

    The Rams also added exciting young defensive pieces through the draft. Aaron Donald has generated as much training camp buzz as any rookie in the NFL. Young defensive backs Lamarcus Joyner and EJ Gaines have both flashed impact player ability.

    Since taking over the roster in 2012 Les Snead and Jeff Fisher have managed to transform the most talent deficient rosters in the NFL into one of the richest. With a lack of talent no longer the problem in St. Louis, it is time for the Rams to take a step forward into playoff and title contention.

    Much has been written and said about the Rams defensive potential under the guidance of Gregg Williams since February. One of the best takes on Williams' defensive philosophy and how it impacts the Rams was provided by Matt Bowen, former NFL safety who played for Williams during his time with the Washington Redskins.

    One of the things Williams' defenses are known for is their aggressive blitzes and knack for generating turnovers. Bowen discusses in some detail just how much additional stress Williams' blitz schemes put on the defensive secondary, and in particular he discussed how second-round draft choice Lamarcus Joyner fits within that scheme.

    As exciting as it is to envision the pressure this Rams team will generate in 2014, its hard to ignore the feeling of dread associated with the secondary. The defense's weakest (and most inexperienced) unit will be tasked with more difficult assignments, which will undoubtedly lead to big plays by the opposition.

    I do believe Williams will cater his defensive schemes to the personnel he has available, and perhaps the young secondary is up to the challenge, but there will surely be growing pains along the way.

    With the type of pressure the Rams' front four can generate, it is possible Williams uses his defensive genius to disguise coverages and confuse offenses. I surely hope the percentage of plays where the Rams bring an extra defender are significantly lower than the average for a Williams defense.

    There is no doubt his blitz packages have been effective in the past, and if used judiciously they could be devastatingly effective when matched with the pressure Chris Long, Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, and Aaron Donald can apply.

    I'm still excited about the potential impact the addition of Williams has on the Rams defense. I'm also very aware of the bumps that will occur along the way.

    Thanks for reading and as always, Go Rams!!!

    The Insider's Guide to a Gregg Williams Defense

    By Matt Bowen, NFL National Lead Writer Oct 2, 2013

    Motivation, accountability and attitude all play a crucial role in defensive football. It goes deeper than schemes or game plans or matchups.

    Take the Tennessee Titans this season. They are a 3-1 football team that has completely changed the way they play on the defensive side of the ball, creating turnovers, sacks and pressure.

    This is a nasty defense. A physical defense. Turn on the film and watch it for yourself.

    And Gregg Williams has played a major role in this turnaround in his first year back in the NFL after serving a one-year suspension for the bounty program in New Orleans.

    The senior assistant/defense for Tennessee has this unit playing with a style that reminds me of the two years I spent with Williams in Washington as a defensive back.

    But how can one coach cause such a dramatic change?

    Here’s my inside look at Williams, his scheme and the attitude he can bring to a football team.

    Accountability Is the Key

    Williams had three rules written up on the chalkboard in his defensive team meeting room.

      • Be on time
      • Touch all lines
      • 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.

    But we needed that type of change as a defense after a 5-11 record in 2003 under Steve Spurrier. That season, we lacked structure and discipline. There was a lot of talent on that roster, but there was a disconnect that existed every day in practice settings that could have been mistaken for junior high recess.

    Not with Williams. Nope. We were challenged every practice and expected to produce. He ran the defense like a head coach under Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs.

    I bought into his style of coaching immediately, and I believe the majority of my defensive teammates did as well.

    We were hooked—and it showed with our play on the field.

    That defense was smarter, faster, more physical and welcomed the challenges of playing in Williams' scheme.

    Williams’ Motivational Skills

    It would be irresponsible of me as a writer to sweep the bounty program under the rug. The player-run program existed in Washington, and it was a part of our defensive culture.

    I wrote about it back in 2012 at the Chicago Tribune and took some major heat in doing so. But I don’t regret writing it, because inside the text (once you looked past the headline), I hoped to convey the message that Williams is an excellent motivator outside of the bounty talk.

    Williams knows how I feel about this based on our conversations since I retired in 2007, and that includes the discussion we had the night I filed my bounty column to the Tribune.

    I would have run through a wall for this guy. And I probably still would today if he showed up at my front door.

    His ability to get the most out of his players is second to none, and I believe we are seeing that right now in Tennessee. This isn’t a unit stacked with Pro Bowl talent, but they are playing together at a Pro Bowl level.

    That’s buying into a certain style of football. It’s an attitude than comes from the top. And it’s a beautiful thing when everyone is on board.

    Production Sells

    The “production chart” was the first thing you saw on the wall when you walked into our defensive team meeting room.

    It listed the name of every defensive player and their stats. How many tackles did they have? Ball disruptions? Forced fumbles? Pressures? Sacks? Interceptions?

    It was all there for everyone to see.

    Produce and you play. It was that simple under Williams. He didn’t cater to favorites, and he had no problem sitting you down if the production wasn’t there.

    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Have an issue with the number of minutes you are seeing on Sundays? Then go look at the chart. That will tell you the story.

    Because of Mr. Snyder's ability to bring in free agents and the draft, our roster had a tremendous amount of turnover that first offseason under Williams.

    We brought in cornerback Shawn Springs, linebacker Marcus Washington, defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin and drafted safety Sean Taylor in the top 10 after trading away Pro Bowler Champ Bailey for Clinton Portis.

    We cleaned out the locker room and, well, started over, to an extent. And we needed a defensive coach, a defensive leader to bring it all together.

    That was Williams.

    You'd Better Have a Notebook

    Williams’ scheme is complex. Multiple fronts, coverages, pressures, personnel packages, etc. There was a lot going on there. A defense that went deeper than anything I had experienced as a player.

    Williams' cornerback "cat" out of Ruby personnel.

    Because of that, your notebook was a vital piece of property that went everywhere with you.

    His meetings reminded me of college-level courses that combined chalkboard sessions with film work. I still have the notebooks from my time in Washington, and they are filled with concepts, blitzes, coverages and so on.

    We covered everything in our game plans. From gadget plays to what to expect on 3rd-and-2 through 3rd-and-6 based on field position, alignment, personnel, wide receiver splits and the depth of the running back. We went into games ready to play versus anything the offense could throw at us.

    And that film work was so detailed.

    I thought I knew how to study tape, but that wasn’t the case. Under Williams, I really learned the NFL game. Instead of “watching the tape,” I let the film tell me a story.

    The meetings were no joke, and we were tested every day when the film started rolling. Williams had no problem putting you on the spot to answer questions, identify concepts or offensive schemes.

    Monday Film Review

    Williams wouldn’t allow us to relax or think we had arrived as a defense. Even on Mondays after a great defensive performance, he would start our film review sessions by showing cut-ups of the plays we busted on. And he had no problem calling players out.

    I liked that. I did. Even when I was the guy being shown up on the screen for taking a poor angle or missing a tackle, I felt this was pro football. We got paid to play a game. And when the play on the field wasn’t up to Coach’s standards, well, then it was time to get corrected.

    I remember a game in 2005 when we beat up on the San Francisco 49ers in Frank Gore’s rookie season. Late in the second half, Gore cut back versus Cover 2. My job on that play? Run the alley and make the tackle.

    Instead, I took a brutal angle to the ball and created a clear running lane for Gore to get up the field. I looked slow and hesitant on the film trying to recover down the sideline. And it cost us six points.

    Williams must have rewound that play at least five times to show how poorly I looked. That was a rough meeting for me, but I didn’t take it personally, nor did I leave the room upset. Heck, I deserved it after what I saw on the film.

    And every meeting carried the same tone. We weren’t in there to throw high-fives or hand out trophies.

    You were expected to do your job.

    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
    Williams called me out during the film review session after Gore busted a touchdown run against us a rookie.

    “Every Day Is an Interview”

    That was Williams’ favorite line.

    In Washington, that meant we were evaluated every day in the meeting room, training room, weight room and on the practice field.

    With Williams, we would condition before practice. Up-downs, sprints, ladders, etc. Think of a conditioning drill that might make you puke, and I bet we did it.

    And they were all filmed.

    During training camp, we would watch tape of our entire defense doing up-downs in full gear in the humidity of Virginia. Skip a rep or cheat the drill, and everyone would see it.

    Our practices were fast, they were detailed and you were expected to play within the scheme of the defense.

    It didn’t matter if it was a Wednesday afternoon practice or Saturday morning walk-through. When the film was rolling, you were being graded on stance, alignment and responsibility.

    No free passes with Williams.

    Pressure, Pressure, Pressure...

    In our first game with Williams, we went after Jon Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field.

    That game plan was absolutely loaded with pressure schemes, and I blitzed all day against quarterback Brad Johnson.

    Williams dialed up pressure in every situation. Attack the edge, the inside A gap, use overload pressure, etc. Whatever it took, we sent the house that day. We even had a blitz named “Chucky” for Coach Gruden where both cornerbacks came off the edge.

    Crazy, complex stuff.

    Yes, this can be Williams’ downfall when he gets too aggressive in the game plan. That has shown up before when he was coaching in New Orleans. Blitz too much and you can hang your defensive backs out to dry with no help anywhere on the field.

    We were a Cover 4 team with Williams in our base looks back in Washington, and the Titans are showing more Cover 2 on the tape.

    But at the core of any Williams game plan is pressure. It can be exotic with the disguise, or he will have his guys line up in a blitz look and dare the offense to stop it. If he could, Williams would blitz fans out of the stands.

    A great scheme. And one that is fun as hell to play.

    What’s Next for Williams and the Titans?

    I know Williams isn’t the defensive coordinator in Tennessee. That’s Jerry Gray’s job. But watching the tape and seeing how this defense has come together to play at high level the first four weeks of the season, Williams’ fingerprints are all over this unit.

    With quarterback Jake Locker out for an extended period of time after suffering a hip injury, the Titans defense will have to carry this club, continue to force turnovers and create scoring opportunities for backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    That’s adversity in the NFL. It happens all over the league. Along with Gray, Williams will have this defense ready to embrace that adversity, because defensive football isn’t played in a box. There are so many factors that go beyond talent and scheme when running a productive unit.

    And coaching it at the top of the list.

    Seven-year NFL veteran Matt Bowen is an NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
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  2. Mojo Ram

    Horns for life
    Moderator 2017 Survivor Co-Champion
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    Feb 3, 2013
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    Who will be this teams Pvt Pile?
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  3. Irish

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    Jun 20, 2014
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    Webster Groves, MO via Eureka, MO
    Tackling, tackling, tackling, tackling and tackling. The biggest concern with this defense is tackling.

    Extended plays burned us last year, and last week, albeit a preseason game, showed a whole lot more of the same
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  4. SierraRam

    Recreational User
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    Mar 17, 2014
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    Grass Valley, CA
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  5. LACHAMP46

    A snazzy title
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    Jul 21, 2013
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    Garden Grove, Ca.,
    That Williams pic reminds me of a saying, something like if the curtains don't match the carpet.....I likey Williams though.
  6. Rams and Gators

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    Aug 15, 2013
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    Biggest concern? Run D, how do you go from 2nd in yards per attempt to 1st, that's an almost impossible task.
  7. scifiman

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    If 1 preseason game is any indication then I would have to agree with you. Run D has to be tightened up. Especially when our 1st regular season game is against Minnesota and Adrian Peterson.
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  8. Ramrasta

    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
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    Sep 7, 2010
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    I think preseason is really a false indicator of anything except individual progress. Greg Williams was obviously not preparing elaborate defensive schemes as he would for a regular season game and all the starters playing together will make a drastic difference.
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  9. GreeneCounty

    Pro Bowler
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    Jan 12, 2013
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    Thing I am concerned about GW the most is other clubs that have a beef with what he did. They might have a lot of anger built up and will be pumped to play Rams.
  10. fearsomefour

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    Jan 15, 2013
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    My biggest concern with Williams is his hair.
    Secondly taking too many chances and leaving DBs exposed.
  11. Selassie I

    H. I. M.
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    Jun 23, 2010
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    I get a warm feeling inside when I think about how concerning it is to opposing offenses knowing that they are going to have to face a Williams Defense. We will be Dictating the game... not reacting.

    I like being in command of the action.
  12. anode8

    Professional lurker, occasional poster.
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    Aug 12, 2014
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    That was my initial thought as well, with the obvious difference in choices of coloring. Maybe it's a part of his overall attitude though, like "I don't give a sh!t about my beard looking different from my hair, and I also don't give a sh!t about blitzing on 23 consecutive plays." It's pretty hard to plan for crazy.
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  13. fearsomefour

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    Jan 15, 2013
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    Haha, hard to plan for crazy. Good point.
    Although he is drifting toward FABULOUS!!!! Not that there is anything wrong with that.