The St. Louis Rams' association with embattled defensive coordinator Gregg Williams could make it tougher to publicly embrace free agents cut in Williams' image.
2007-2011 'Swagger' Penalties
Before Williams' involvement in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal became national news Friday, players such as Finnegan appeared to be natural fits for the Rams in free agency. They still could be. The Rams need talent, and they'll presumably look for hard-nosed players. But it'll be tougher for Williams or the Rams to flaunt players' bad intentions.
Finnegan never played for the Titans when Williams was their defensive coordinator. He did play under Williams' protege, Jim Schwartz, and under Williams' current boss, Jeff Fisher.
Finnegan has demonstrated the tactics that Williams has promoted through the years.
Since 2007, when Finnegan became a starter, he leads the NFL with 16 combined penalties for disqualification, facemask, horse collar tackle, personal foul, roughing the kicker, roughing the passer, taunting, unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct. The chart identifies league leaders in these "swagger" penalties since 2007, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
As Williams said before the Saints' Super Bowl victory over Indianapolis a few years back:
"A lot of times guys are going to try to go down and not take a shot. We want to beat them to the ground. We say they're not down until they bounce twice. I learned that from Buddy Ryan. He used to talk about burping them. When you burp a guy, you hit him in the ground and felt the air go out of him. All those are signature tackles and they're all tackles where the opponent felt them. We count them. We had a lot last week."
On cornerbacks specifically, Williams said, "We don't believe in cover corners. We think everybody has a face mask and shoulder pads and you're supposed to use them. If you don't use them, then you turn into a highway cone and stand over by me."