This isn’t a huge surprise, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is expected to leave the Saints and join Jeff Fisher in St. Louis.
Williams worked for Fisher in Tennessee and the two are close friends. Williams’ contract with New Orleans is expiring and there had been speculation he would join Fisher. Williams joined the Saints in 2009 and his trademark opportunistic defense came up with lots of turnovers as New Orleans won the Super Bowl that season.
But Williams’ defense wasn’t able to produce turnovers at anywhere near the same rate in 2010 or 2011. The Saints’ defense collapsed late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s playoff loss to San Francisco. If Williams hadn’t already made a decision on his future, the two late touchdowns scored by the 49ers might have sealed his fate. I never got the sense Williams and head coach Sean Payton were especially close and Payton might have been looking to make a change after what happened Saturday.
Schefter reports that New Orleans already has a short list of potential replacements -- former Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo and Miami defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Those two also have been mentioned as potential defensive coordinators in Atlanta.
Even with the season over, we could see the Falcons and Saints battling over defensive coordinators.