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Thread: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

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    Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ March 5, 2012 1:17 pm

    Thoughts on Gregg Williams, bounties, and the Rams:

    1. The question asked of me most often over the weekend was this: Will the Rams fire new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams because of his ringleader role in setting up and/or overseeing bounty programs in New Orleans? This goes beyond New Orleans and the official NFL investigation into the Saints' activities under Williams, head coach Sean Payton, GM Mickey Loomis, and some players. Similar accusations have been lodged against Williams from players at his previous stops in Washington, Buffalo. (And possibly Tennessee.)

    I'm going to answer the question with a question: do you expect Rams head coach Jeff Fisher to fire himself? If your answer is "No" then I don't see why you would expect Fisher and the Rams to fire Williams.

    Fisher and Williams are football brothers. They were trained by the same football father, Buddy Ryan, who was notorious for his bounty system. I'm not saying that Fisher knew of any Williams-related bounty programs; I simply don't know. But Fisher has a strong belief in deploying a defense that rocks, rattles and intimidates opponents. And that philosophy is also part of Williams' football DNA. It's a football DNA that Fisher and Williams share.

    So do any of you really believe that Fisher is shocked by any of this? Do you really believe that he hired Williams because the DC would bake cookies for the players and lead them in merry singalongs? No, Fisher hired Williams because he wants to cultivate an aggressive -- and yes, violent -- culture within his Rams defense.

    As I wrote about on this blog six weeks ago, Fisher's teams in Tennessee made it their style to play on the edge -- and over the edge. It's documented. Over a 10-year period Fisher's Titans led the NFL in all of the nasty penalties: personal fouls, roughing the quarterback, etc.

    And let's be perfectly honest here by coming clean with each other: when the Rams hired Fisher, most fans and media viewed his tough-guy, touch-coach background as a positive. How many of you said that Fisher's fierce and punishing style of football would be a welcome change from the softness of recent Rams' teams? Well, we can't have it both ways.

    Fisher isn't going to fire Williams, his closest friend in coaching and a football brother who believes in the same guiding principles. And I think it's naive to think that Rams owner Stan Kroenke will run Williams off. If Kroenke (or one of his aides de camp) orders the dismissal of Williams, it will greatly undermine Fisher. And Fisher was Kroenke's hand-picked head coach. Fisher was chosen, and empowered, by Kroenke to lead a new era of Rams football. And Kroenke certainly was aware of Fisher's football DNA when he hired him. There are no angels here.

    Some will say, "Well, the Rams shouldn't be associating with someone of Williams' character." That would sound awfully nice in Sunday school. Except that the new head coach of the Rams has a longstanding, seemingly unbreakable bond with Williams. Fisher has been associated with Williams for many years. He isn't going to abandon his football brother now. This isn't to say that Fisher approves of Williams' roles in the bounties. But again, Fisher knew what, and who, he was hiring.

    Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy has said he believed the Titans had a bounty going during Fisher's years as coach in Tennessee. That's been disputed by retired Titans safety Blaine Bishop and others. But anyone that watched Fisher's Titans know that his defenses pushed it, and went over the line at times.

    Fire Williams? That sounds tough, and righteous and it strikes a good pose for bloviators.

    Sure, go ahead and fire Williams as long as you are also willing to hire a new head coach.

    2. Besides, this is not a Rams' discipline issue. It is an NFL issue. Williams didn't do these things in St. Louis; the Rams' only connection is that Williams is now their employee. But he hasn't coached as much as a single practice yet in St. Louis. If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell does his job in a way that's faithful to his stated and adamant goals for player safety and health, he'll take this out of the Rams' hands, at least for 2012. If Goodell is serious about player safety, he can't cut Williams a break. Especially with the new discoveries coming out of Washington, Buffalo, and, to a lesser extent, Tennessee. Even with Williams throwing himself at the mercy of Goodell's court, the commissioner has to come down hard on Williams and make an example of him.

    I'd be stunned if the suspension was anything less than half the season. I wouldn't be stunned if Williams is suspended for a full season. But understand this: the issue is important to Goodell, who has gone after Steelers' linebacker James Harrison and other players that have injured opponents with cheap-shot hits. And if Goodell goes soft on Williams, other coaches, GMs and administrators, he'll open himself up to damning charges of hypocrisy.

    3. If Williams gets suspended for a long time, it could be worse for the Rams. Supposed this happen later, during the season, or even training camp? At this point all Williams has done for the Rams is watch tape of current players to see what he has. If Williams gets sent to the penalty box by the NFL for an extensive term, the Rams can turn to Dave McGinnis, a highly respected defensive coach. McGinnis would have been a good hire as the DC, anyway. And McGinnis is already in place at Rams Park. will be able to set up the defense and work with Rams' defensive players without missing a beat.


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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    Like I said a few days ago, Fisher wont fire Williams because they are best friends. Bernie basically expands on that with his yap that he gets paid for..
    THOLTFAN81 and RamSoup like this.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    Yeah Yeah so Williams will set his bounties from the comforts of his own home. No big deal!

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    Williams probably won't be coaching for a really long time so I'm not really sure what the point of keeping him on staff would be.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    I think Av brought this up in another thread, but I can easily envision a scenario where Williams is suspended by the league for X number of games, and Dave McGinnis coordinates the Rams' defense until Williams is able to return. If it's a full year's suspension or longer, then maybe it's another story, I don't know.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Like I said a few days ago, Fisher wont fire Williams because they are best friends. Bernie basically expands on that with his yap that he gets paid for..
    That's all well and good but, last time I checked, Fisher has a boss too. If Stan doesn't like the way this "smells," Fisher may not have much to say about it.

    My guess remains, though, that they all knew this was coming, and McGinnis is the contingency plan.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    That's all well and good but, last time I checked, Fisher has a boss too. If Stan doesn't like the way this "smells," Fisher may not have much to say about it.

    My guess remains, though, that they all knew this was coming, and McGinnis is the contingency plan.
    You're right. But why would Kroenke go wild to lure in Fisher here and then make decisions for him? He let him assemble his entire staff and have control over the draft, I so no reason why he'd but into operations now!
    Last edited by sosa39rams; -03-05-2012 at 11:16 PM.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    You're right. But why would Kroenko go wild to lure in Fisher here and then make decisions for him? He let him assemble his entire staff and have control over the draft, I so no reason why he'd but into operations now!
    This is not a typical, every-day, personnel decision. This is a decision that has implications for the team's reputation and standing with the league. I'm not saying that Stan will definitely step in, I'm just saying its something to consider.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    If Fisher is going to take an attitude of "if Williams goes, I go," sack both of them. Fisher's under enough suspicion and has a shaky enough rep with regards to this that it may not be in the team's best long term interests to keep him around. Teams would be suspicious we were running a system with just Fisher; if you keep Williams, they will "know". Yes, the inevitable 3-13 or worse 2012 campaign would hurt, but another lost decade (the direct consequence of us getting busted for running a system and incurring Goodell's wrath) would be far, far worse.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    This is not a typical, every-day, personnel decision. This is a decision that has implications for the team's reputation and standing with the league. I'm not saying that Stan will definitely step in, I'm just saying its something to consider.
    Precisely. Do people really think Kroenke wouldnt step in during a situation such as this? This is a huge deal. Were talking possible lengthy suspension of a coordinator.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    ... and not to change the subject, but ... what if McGinnis takes over for Williams ... eight games. Gregg comes back and Dave is 6-2. D is playing lights out all season .... Do you take the D away from him?
    If a team won their division seven straight times, that would be a NFL record. Now add on that team did it with seven different QB's in seven straight years,that record is unbeatable. To do that feat, you must of had a great Defense. Jack Youngblood was the captain of that defense.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Frye View Post
    ... and not to change the subject, but ... what if McGinnis takes over for Williams ... eight games. Gregg comes back and Dave is 6-2. D is playing lights out all season .... Do you take the D away from him?
    Very good question...and one that will give me sweet dreams tonight, thanks.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    There's no doubt whatsover that the entire STL Rams organization, from top to bottom / bottom to top -- all the way -- is looking very intently at the possible moves and implications revolving Williams. Owner, players, coaches. And fans!

    What a way to challenge Kroenke's & Fisher's situational leadership skills! Better early than late.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Frye View Post
    ... and not to change the subject, but ... what if McGinnis takes over for Williams ... eight games. Gregg comes back and Dave is 6-2. D is playing lights out all season .... Do you take the D away from him?
    Excellent question, Dwight. However, it assumes that Fisher, Williams, and McGinnis won't be coordinating their efforts between Rams Park and Williams' living room during his suspension.

    I think McGinnis simply instills and runs the Williams defense until he returns.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Will Rams fire Williams?

    Companies and organizations usually stand by their employees up to a point- until it is not in their best interests to do so. I cannot see Stan Kroenke pulling the trigger until the league concludes its investigation. Stan waited 4 months to fire Spags- what makes anyone think he's going to rush to action here?
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