clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Gregg Williams in the hot seat?

New, comments

I don't happen to think so, but my Redskins blogging colleague Jack Kogood at AOL's NFL Fanhouse wants Gregg Williams gone.

I cannot wait until Williams is packing his bags to head out of town for his next failed coaching gig. Maybe then this ridiculous concept of his special "packages" will go away once and for all. He pulled the same crap with the media last year when they asked about LaVar's playing time. Now he's actually calling the punt coverage team a package. Much like Williams' personnel decisions and Arch's coverage ability, that is a complete farce.

I hate Gregg Williams, and I want you to hate him too.

I encourage a deep breath followed by a good night's rest.

First let's separate the good criticism from the bad. Gregg Williams made some horrible personnel decisions this off-season as aptly pointed out by the above author. As much as we want to blame Vinny Cerrato for everything that goes wrong, Adam Archuleta was a Gregg Williams guy. So was Andre Carter. The former is an unquestionable disaster as the highest paid safety in NFL history has been relegated to scapegoat position on the deep bench. Andre Carter is far from a success but miles away from Archuleta in the bust category.

Also the 2006 Redskins defense just hasn't been good. Despite a great showing last week vs. Carolina, the Redskins are still the 28th ranked defense in the league. We've given up huge plays in both the passing and running game and if anyone should be accountable for that it is the defensive coordinator: Gregg Williams.

I'll continue. The secondary, until last week, had not put together a solid game all year. Introduce Tom Friend's piece about a possible anonymous player-coaching staff rift, or even (safeties coach) Steven Jackson-Gregg Williams rift, and there's a real concern that coaching breakdowns are occurring as we speak. This is a legitimate reason to criticize the Defensive Coordinator.

Now for some perspective. In 2004 when the Redskins were a horrible football team, the only thing going right was Gregg Williams' defense, which finished 3rd in the league. Last year when this team was 5-6 and not looking much like a postseason football team, it was the defense (and a healthy dose of running) that carried us to 10-6. It was the defense that beat Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs, not our record setting 25 net yards passing.

We opened the season without Shawn Springs and Pierson Prioleau. This was a perfect storm of secondary problems which eventually permeated to every level of our defense. For example, the absence of Shawn Springs forced Carlos Rogers into the starting CB spot, a position he was clearly not prepared for. It also forced Kenny Wright into the 2nd spot and Mike Rumph on the field -- another disaster.

All of this could have been mitigated by adequate help over the top. Enter Adam Archuleta, which was admittedly Gregg Williams' blunder. But it was a blunder that could have been avoided had we not lost Prioleau for the season. According to Tom Friend on his WaPo LIVE Chat, Archuleta wouldn't have been starting if not for Prioleau's injury.

So Gregg Williams entered the season with a safety (who he wanted, which was a bad personnel decision) he didn't trust and thus was missing what should have been two starters in the secondary. This limits both the quality and quantity of blitzes the Williams could call. As Williams is an aggressive defensive coordinator, this significantly affects his gameplan.

Now, I am trying my best not to be a Williams' apologist. It is his duty to make quality personnel decisions which he failed to do. If we couldn't get the right people on the field because of injury, that's also his fault. But there were extenuating circumstances at the beginning of this year that made it unlikely the team would reproduce a top 10 defense.

While I agree with Mr. Kogood that Gregg Williams had a disastrous coaching experience in Buffalo, one thing his 2003 Bills did manage was to be the best defense in the AFC. Just to compare a Gregg Williams Buffalo defense to a Gregg Williams free Buffalo defense, the 2003 Bills gave up nearly 100 points less than the 2005 Bills.

Seeing as the capacity in which we employ Gregg Williams is his defensive prowess and not his head coaching talents, I'm all for keeping him around. His resume is impressive and his defense was the only good thing about this team as recently as two years ago. It's regressed, but there were some extenuating circumstances (I admit partially of his own making) that contributed to that.

The real test will be how his defense plays the rest of the year. Last week might be anomalous, but then again it might not. I honestly believe that it takes more than a single season to tarnish a man's entire career. I also believe that one of the reasons this team has been unable to produce a consistent contender in so many years is a lack of continuity in the coaching staff. The ownership is unwilling to suffer more than a year's worth of failure and thus repeats the same mistake year-in-year-out of shuffling the coaching/personnel deck. The dissent, given the win last weekend, seems to have subsided; in a player's only meeting the defense put the issue behind them. Despite all the noise about how Gregg Williams is a meanie head to the players, they seem willing to rally and play for him.

I support Gregg Williams and I hope he remains a member of this coaching staff for many years to come. I urge naysayers to consider the ramifications of a coaching defensive shakedown: Be careful what you wish for.