INDIANAPOLIS — Greg Williams' reputation as a high-risk, high-reward defensive coordinator came to mind when the St. Louis Rams hired him to fill the role under new coach Jeff Fisher.
Gregg Williams and Titans' Defense
Would the Rams become less fundamentally sound? Williams' most recent team, New Orleans, sent five or more pass-rushers with league-leading frequency, sometimes giving up big plays.
"Gregg has a reputation of hitting the quarterback," Fisher said from Super Bowl headquarters, "but it's not at all costs. There is a method to the madness and it's a very sound scheme."
The chart breaks out the Tennessee Titans' defensive stats for parts of Fisher's tenure as head coach. The column labeled "No GW" shows stats for the three seasons before and three seasons after Williams was coordinator under Fisher. The column labeled "GW" shows stats for the 1997-2000 seasons, when Williams was coordinator.
Sacks and forced fumbles increased under Williams. Points allowed decreased. A lot of the other stats stayed about the same.
Other factors beyond Williams affected the numbers, but these stats give us a basis for discussion, at least.
"The flexibility on defense is extraordinary," Fisher said. "We are going to build this defense around the players we have, and as we get better, we'll continue to reshape it."
We should expect the Rams to force more turnovers and improve against the run. They forced 24 fumbles in 2011, about the average for Tennessee during those three-year windows before and after Williams.