By Jeremy Clements
It didn’t take long for Rams fans and others to start calling for the Rams to fire the defensive coordinator who is now implicated in this scandal. Then more reports started leaking out as former Redskins and Bills players in cities Williams coached in started discussing bonuses they received for similar actions. Those voices calling for the head of Williams on a pike only got louder. Those fans probably don’t realize that handing Williams his pink slip might be more complicated than you think.
Reason 1 – Gregg Williams has a proven track record of success. The graph below looks at every defensive unit coached by Williams since 1997 with NFL rankings for each category and the per game averages in parentheses.
Simply put Gregg Williams has coached 7 top ten defensive units during his 15 year career. During that time ten of his defenses have been better than any defensive unit the Rams have fielded since 2006, the last year St. Louis finished .500 or better. Can the Rams, who are trying to return to greatness really afford to let go of a proven coach?
Reason 2 – Williams was chosen for this job by new Head Coach Jeff Fisher. Fisher and Williams worked together in Tennessee and are close friends. If Fisher is forced to let go of not only a good friend, but someone he hand picked to be on his coaching staff it could harm the relationship between Fisher and the Rams front office.
Reason 3 – The Rams need stability heading into the NFL Draft. The Rams have just completely overhauled the coaching staff and front office. Firing a coach now, just a month prior to the NFL Draft, would make the Rams look like a very unstable organization and could possibly affect a player’s willingness to sign with the Rams during free agency or the Draft itself.
Reason 4 – Williams’ infractions didn’t occur as a Rams employee and the Rams can cope with a suspension. As of now, the NFL has only confirmed Williams involvement in a “bounty program” in New Orleans. NFL Spokesman Greg Aiello said that no proof of any such program in Buffalo or Washington, but this investigation is far from over. That said, Williams didn’t break any rules as a member of the Rams coaching staff so they couldn’t justify firing him for harming the team’s reputation. The franchise could also handle the likely suspension that Williams faces since head coach Jeff Fisher and assistant coach Dave McGinnis both have previously served as defensive coordinators during their careers.
Reason 5 – Another team would hire him without thinking twice. This type of incentive based program doesn’t make Williams a bad coach and it doesn’t make him any less attractive to potential employers. Sure, the implications don’t sound good, but I think you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think this kind of bounty program wasn’t in place with other franchises. Williams is just the fall guy in this case and I don’t think that another team would think twice about hiring a guy with a proven track record.
Those are five good reasons that the Rams could have for deciding not to fire Williams and so while a suspension is more than likely, I don’t think he’ll be getting a pink slip any time soon.
What do you think?
Thanks for reading.