On Thursday, new Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had his introductory press conference. Earlier in the day, the team had also confirmed the hirings of five assistant coaches:
- Bob Wylie (offensive line)
- Clyde Simmons (defensive line)
- Blake Williams (linebackers)
- DeWayne Walker (defensive backs)
- Jerod Kruse (assistant defensive backs)
The press conference lasted 45 minutes. Here is a reader's digest of what we can take away from the presser.
Introduction to the Browns
- Although he's never worked for him, Williams said the "number one reason he is here" is because of his respect for Hue Jackson. He was also impressed with how drastically improved the facilities were in Berea. When Butch Davis coached the Browns in 2001, he was in Berea as part of a scrimmage during training camp. He had also interviewed for the Browns' head coaching job back in 2001.
- Williams referred to himself as a "competition-aholic" -- that is, he is consumed with practices, meetings, and games. He also sees himself as an organized person, which is why he likes the fact that he had to put together a staff and is now getting to go coach at the Senior Bowl. It forces you to "hit the ground running" with everybody being on the same page.
- He also spoke fondly of the Dawg Pound back in the 1980s and 1990s, and how he loved it and is glad to be on that side. Specifically, he remembers “being hit with transistor batteries, size D and C batteries, dog biscuits, dog bones, beer cans, beer bottles.” I hate to tell him, but with all of our losing, the Dawg Pound isn’t what is used to be.
Well-Prepped for Tony Grossi
- I’ve complained about Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland becoming part of the story these days, and Williams came well-prepared for his questions. After Williams’ 10-minute intro, his first exchange with a reporter was with Grossi:
Throw 4-3 vs. 3-4 Generalities Out the Window
- We are done with the days of a defense having to be labeled as 4-3 or 3-4. Defenses are often in the nickel, but a defensive coordinator can and will use multiple fronts. Here was Williams’ response to whether he would be running a 4-3 defense:
“Thank you for asking that. No, Cleveland-based. The reason being is this, I have 42 words that add up to the 11 that trot out to the field. You guys that have studied me before, we’ll play 4-3 and 3-4 in the same game. 3-3, 3-2, 4-1, 4-2, bear, big on five down, big on six down, big on more linebackers, little on more DB’s. I have 42 packages of defense. Now everywhere I go, I don’t do them all. What it is, coaches sit in a room and we waste so much time wondering what the word is. I have the words already. I’ve been doing it for so long. So boom, this 11 guys, boom this 11 guys trot out there. Then, what you all will see is, how much we play those types of schemes or packages is based on the AFC North. It’s based on what the offenses are pulling out there and we have to play defense on. I’m also not afraid to make sure all of the other people are going to have to work on things that I’m never going to call. They’ve got to practice all week long on 4-3, 3-4, 2-2, all of that kind of stuff, and I’m not even going to do it next week. So that’s ok too.”
- I enjoyed Williams’ take on how to reduce missed tackles, and why the fact that teams can’t have a lot of padded practices with live tackling is not en excuse:
“Missed tackles come from coaches allowing other guys to loaf, coaches allowing other guys to play a gap, play fictitious stupid plays that do not exist. We are find ball, see ball, get ball, and if you aren’t around the ball when it is over with and we are in our end zone shot, you are probably moving into the broadcast booth, moving into the beer vendor’s booth, moving into helping the guy hold the down markers on the sideline. I have already talked with Hue and Mr. Haslam – I can’t cut them, but as long as I am here I am going to decide who plays on defense, and when I am not doing that, Tony [Grossi] is coaching them (laughter).”
- Williams also sees an opportunity to be competitive with Hue Jackson for some offense vs. defense pride:
“I think, I am hoping that you see when Hue and I practice against each other, [not] me and him but our teams, we are going to have fun competing in practice. You are going to watch practice and – unless he backs us off, because I am not backing our guys off – unless he backs us off, it is going to be, ‘Holy cow.’ But we have to protect each other too – it is not slamming guys to the ground and cutting guys and flipping guys and doing all that kind of stuff, but we have to practice fast and we have to practice tough and we have to compete – and then when you get on gameday, it slows down, or maybe it does not slow down but it is not as shocking. That is what some of these guys do, they will all of the sudden, and they can’t keep up, and if you can’t keep up then they become a fat ass coach.”
Evaluating the Browns’ Roster and Prospects
- Williams was asked about the Browns’ current talent on defense. He said that he watched 5 or 6 games before he met with the Browns about working here, so that he would have some background information on the players. However, he might not watch any more film on them because he wants to make his own judgments after spending time with the players.
- He didn’t give names, but Williams said, “There are several guys on this defensive roster that I wanted to draft. Several and I do not know whether I am going to like them, I do not know whether they are going to like me – I think they will, and I really do, and I care about every one of those guys.”
Opportunity to Work the Senior Bowl:
- Williams has never worked the Senior Bowl, so here are his thoughts heading into it:
“Never. This is my first time, and one of the years a long time ago my goal was never to have to do this. I am serious about this, and I talked to Mr. Haslam and Hue about this when I came down and talked to them, was that I am excited because I have researched how many picks we have, cap space, all that kind of stuff so it is important to get a feel for them. If they are going to ask me my opinion of a guy, then I have to put my hands on him, so this is really cool. You know what, once I put my hands on those guys, I am not going to watch any of their college film. I do not need to. (Alabama Head Coach) Nick Saban and I are really good friends, several guys on the Clemson defensive staff and I are really good friends. All of those guys, when you have been in [the coaching business] as long as I have been, I have a lot of guys coaching college football that played for me too. I do not need to watch them once I get a chance to coach them, so this is fun. I am really looking forward to getting some evaluation on these guys. Every day is an interview, we will see how well they interview.”
Watch the Press Conference Online
Click here to watch the press conference or read the entire transcript.