In his first meeting with St. Louis media following his hiring as the Rams’ newest defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams viewed his hiring as something of a homecoming.
Reunited with head coach Jeff Fisher for the first time in 14 seasons, Williams spoke at length of his relationship with Fisher, as well as his aspirations for the Rams’ defense during Thursday’s press conference.
For a coach that has become renowned for his ability to transform multiple defensive units into top-10 league rankings, Williams looked forward to the opportunity presented to him at his latest—and perhaps final—landing spot.
“There would be no greater thing for me to say than for this to be my last move,” Williams said. “I’ve had an opportunity to work and coach at a lot of good organizations in the National Football League, and I really look forward to working for this organization and potentially retire right here and win an awful lot of games.”
Williams takes over a defense that was ranked 15th overall in 2013, and boasts one of the league’s best pass-rushing tandems, in defensive ends
“I’ve watched every single game and I’ve taken reports and listened to our reports, and those things are good to familiarize yourself with,” Williams said. “But, as opposed to what other people do, you need to be good at what you do, and what we’re getting ready to go about doing.”
Williams’ addition only adds to what is widely considered the most defensive-oriented division in the NFL. The NFC West produced three top-10 defenses in 2013, and when presented with an opportunity to bring one of the game’s most respected defensive minds to run his defense again, Fisher embraced the opportunity to turn to Williams.
“I felt, in the best interest of the organization, that Gregg was the guy for the job,” Fisher said. “We’ve won a lot of games together. He’s coached a lot of very good defenses. Speaking for myself and the rest of the staff, he’s very excited to be here, as they are.”
The feeling is certainly mutual for Williams, who did some of his best work while serving as Fisher’s defensive coordinator in Tennessee from 1997-2000. The Titans featured a top-five defense in two of those seasons, one of which led to the AFC championship in 1999. In determining where his career would take him in 2014, his familiarity with Fisher played a key role.
“I don’t have to do a lot of (selling) with people I’m familiar with, Fisher said. “There’s already a common knowledge and a base of support set and ready to go, so now you can direct your time and energies to what matters. It’s been 14 years since we’ve been together. It’s been 14 seasons we’ve competed against each other. It’s fun to be back with people who think and believe the same way you do.”