New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams
Friday, September 30, 2011
Do you have any young guys that have stepped into leadership roles on your unit?
"Malcolm Jenkins has been an amazing young man taking over at the back end and during the two weeks Will Smith wasn't' here. Malcolm was one of our defensive captains. He's a very vocal person. Leadership is earned by example before you listen to somebody's voice. It doesn't make any difference how old you are. People don't necessarily listen to older players that don't do things right. You have to set a good example before anybody's going to listen to you as far as verbal leadership. Malcolm deserves the opportunity for people to listen to him because of the example he sets. He's done a very good job with that."
Is Jonathan Vilma the same way?
"Vilma's our alpha dog. Vilma's the Drew Brees on the defense and he's been that way since I've been here. That's been something since I was before I got here. That was something he was at the University of Miami. I went down there and worked all those guys out. He was like that in high school. He and Frank Gore got into a fistfight in high school. They were on the same team and wanted to be the leader. You watch those guys out there at practice, it's fun to watch Drew (Brees) and Jon compete from a leadership standpoint, but again, example. It's not a sometimes thing. It's an all the time thing. Jon is our dominant defensive leader. Will Smith is a fantastic leader too. It's not always the best player, but the person who does right the most is the person who is going to be listened to the most because if you do right, somebody's going to listen to you."
You had a lot of success in 2009 and 2010 against rookie quarterbacks. Do you prepare for them differently?
"No you don't, but when you do as many things as you do everything kind of looks different to those guys. The older you are from a quarterback standpoint…It's pretty hard for us even in practice, occasionally we can to fool Drew. It's pretty hard. He takes a look at everybody's stance, nuances, alignments, number of players here or there. There are a lot of things that a young guy that comes into the league has to get acclimated too. I think that coaching staff does a great job. I think Dirk Koetter is one of the better coaches I've had a chance to coach with in this league when I was over there with them. They'll be very well-prepared. College quarterbacks nowadays, they're throwing more in colleges and coming into the league better-prepared in my opinion because they are in spread offenses and are seeing a lot of different defenses at the college level now. We don't change anything of what we're going to do, but sometimes you get a chance of a hesitation because they're not as sure of that this is where the ball is going to go or where the pressure is going to some from, so you get a chance when they're hesitant."
Does it help that they have a good running back to take pressure off the quarterback?
"Not a good running back, but a great running back. That's how you take the pressure off of people. That's that. They'll do a good job of those things. I can't tell you how many video clips when you talk to our players today that they've seen of Maurice Jones-Drew, what kind of power he runs with and what kind of competitor he is. He's one of the best players I've ever been on the football field with and when you get a chance to practice as I was over there at practice, you'll see his ability to go run pass routes and break tackles. I think last year if he wasn't the leader, he was near the top of the league in yards after contact. It's hard to win the pad level battle with him when he's already below you to start with and that he's built so well downstairs. He has a real good feel and vision about him as a running back. He can feel you before he sees you and all of a sudden he delivers the blow. There's a great picture if you guys want to go back and take a look at it in the Jet game, a 360-pound nose guard's in the hole and Drew unblocked, flatheads him, runs right over his face, goes seven or eight more yards until three or four more people catch him. That's a 360-poiund man that got turned over like he was a 160 pounder. That's the toughness that it will be like. We're going to have unblocked players at the point of attack and he'll still run over you. We're going to have two or three players at the point of attack and he'll make you miss. We have our work cut out for us."
Could this game be a throwback game with a runner like that involved?
"When you have an explosive offense like we do here, they would love for this game to stay close. If this game stays close, it's going to be a slugfest. It's going to be a toe-to-toe fistfight in a phone booth type of game. If we can separate the score, it becomes more of a wide open game. We have to see about that, but we think we're prepared for that smash mouth mentality. I think Jack Del Rio really does a good job of preparing his team that way. That is the way the team is built to hit you in the mouth. The team is built to win at the line of scrimmage and to play in those kinds of games and they've been successful so far this year playing those kinds of games. We have to be prepared for that."
What's your relationship with Jack these days?
I know you've coached at other places, but do you enjoy going back to Jacksonville?
"There are a bunch of good people in that organization from ownership on down. The trainers, video, coaches. There are still several coaches I worked with over there. A few of the players are still there. I think Gene Smith does a real good job with the personnel department. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever been around. He's there way before everybody else is. He's there way later than everybody else is. In fact, when I was there, Gene's employee number is one, two, three or four, the third or fourth person hired in that organization. Ray Perkins' son, Mike Perkins is their video coordinator over there and is very well-recognized in what he does and trained Dave Desposito who's our video coordinator. There's a tie there. There are a lot of good people. It's fun to see those kinds of people, but it's more fun to see them in the offseason at the combine than when you have to compete against them because we're both after the same thing and that's a win."
The Jacksonville press said that Del Rio called you G-Money the other day. What's the background?
"Basically because I make a lot of money and I'm one of those few coordinators and at that time I was the highest-paid in the league. There was a teasing part about that, which is fine. Those are the things when you get out of football or the playing or coaching part of it, you miss the camaraderie. You miss the tackle back and forth and the fun part of that. That was my nickname there because I was making a lot more money than a lot of guys on that staff, maybe even Jack. I don't know. We'll see."
Can you talk about the return of Tracy Porter and Tom Johnson?
"It's good to see those guys back. They've had a good week of practice. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that everything will go well. It's fun to see that. Just like I've said, I'm always a better coach when the better players play."