NFL

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Fisher cleared Gregg Williams hire with NFL Commissioner Goodell

  • Print

ST. LOUIS - Before hiring Gregg Williams as his defensive co-ordinator for the second time, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher cleared it with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Williams was part of Fisher's first staff with the Rams in 2012, but only for a few weeks before getting suspended for his role in the Saints' bounty scandal.

After a news conference to introduce Williams Thursday, Fisher said he'd been in contact with Goodell throughout the process two years ago and "I wanted to inform him about the direction I was thinking about going."

"He was very excited, and he endorsed it."

Before signing Williams, Fisher said the two spent a few days revisiting the 2012 experience. The suspension left the Rams in a bind and they went without a co-ordinator in '12.

Fisher said then that the suspension was "warranted" and asked if he'd consider Williams in the future said he'd "cross that bridge when we come to it." After the 2012 season he fired Williams' son, defensive line coach Blake Williams.

During his suspension, Williams had no contact with the Rams but said he attended all of the home games. He was a defensive assistant last year at Tennessee and called it a "good stop."

"His handprint was all over the Tennessee defence, it was obvious that he'd gone in there and had a significant impact," Fisher said. "I'd say 60-70 per cent of our terminology is his. I just really felt strongly about just pulling together."

Fisher initiated contact a few weeks after the season ended, and believes he'd surprised Williams. He made room by firing Tim Walton after one season, telling Walton he'd done nothing wrong but that Williams had been his first choice.

The 55-year-old Williams was defensive co-ordinator under Fisher with the Titans from 1997-2000.

"Things are in perspective, things are behind him, his past is his past," Fisher said. "The arrow's going up with the defence and I just felt like Gregg was the person to make sure that happens."

Williams shed no light on the discussions, saying "Those are things that are between Jeff and I." He deflected a question about how he's changed as a coach since his suspension, saying every coach must adjust, but thought the familiarity would make this a good fit.

"It's fun to be back with people who think and believe the same way you are," Williams said. "So now you get a chance to spend more time with the players, because you're spending less time having to sell or defend yourself with your staff before you ever get with the players."

Fisher said the hire got a big thumbs-up from players, adding "my phone was blowing up." Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who was at Rams Park for a workout, anticipates a more aggressive approach.

The Rams have one of the NFL's top pass rushes but enter free agency and the draft needy in the secondary.

"Win or lose, I want to know that we're going to go down swinging," Laurinaitis said. "Everyone I've known that has played for him just absolutely loves the guy."

Williams, who grew up in Missouri, said he hoped this was his last coaching stop.

Williams scoffed at a claim from a player who said the coach bragged about using a stolen playbook to help Tennessee beat Jacksonville in the 1999 AFC championship game. Williams called the allegation by former Jaguars defensive end Renaldo Wynn "a joke" and added he had every team's playbook.

"Every time a free agent walks in a building, he gives you the playbook," Williams said. "We all have everybody's playbook. When you turn the film on, do you have their playbook?

"How much traction did 'Omaha' get when Peyton (Manning) said 'Omaha' 46 times one game on TV? What's that mean? It doesn't mean anything."

Williams said he's watched all of the Rams games from last season but declined to discuss specific needs. Fisher wants his new co-ordinator to concentrate on improving a defence that was ranked 15th overall.

"I told Gregg this time around he's going to be the mad scientist," Fisher said. "He's not going to do a lot of player evaluations, I'm not going to take up his time evaluating unrestricted free agents and getting ready for the draft.

"I want him to take this defence and run with it."

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Dustin Byfuglien reflects on season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.
  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google