Gregg Williams is the Browns new DC
The Browns have hired Gregg Williams as their new defensive coordinator after parting ways with Ray Horton. We will get to Williams in a second, but first, a word on the Browns’ now former (for the second time) DC.
I want to go on record with an unpopular opinion: I never had a problem with Ray Horton and I don’t think he should have been fired. The coaching carousel we have here in Cleveland benefits no one. So even if a coordinator isn’t wowing you each week, I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt. And as for Ray specifically, I always thought he was a better DC than he was ever given credit for. Were the 2016 Browns at the bottom of nearly every defensive statistical category that is tracked? Absolutely. But so was their offense and no one is calling for heads on that side of the ball. The Browns are a bad football team. There are no rrrrrruffs, ands, or buts about it. They were the second-youngest team in the league when the rosters were cut to 53 this past September. Football teams aren’t generally very good when that happens.
Since becoming a defensive coordinator in 2012, Horton’s teams have ranked 12th (ARI), 9th (CLE), 27th (TEN), 12th (TEN), 31th (CLE) in total yards. For what it’s worth, in two seasons with the Titans he jumped half the league. Yes, Horton’s defenses tend to give up a lot of touchdowns (16th, 17th, 28th, 17th, 25th), especially through the air (10th, 21st, 22nd, 29th, 32nd), I acknowledge that.
Horton plays a lot of man coverage and likes to bring heat. Quick, name the Browns big pass rushers….still thinking….I’ll wait….exactly. Now, how about our great secondary?…Oh…our only true star in Joe Haden was playing with one groin for most of the year.
Yes, Jamar Taylor and Briean Boddy-Calhoun are young DBs with promise. But young defensive backs with promise generally don’t win you a lot of games against Big Ben to Antonio Brown, Joe Flacco to Steve Smith, and Andy Dalton to A.J. Green. Point being, Ray was asked to play chess with checkers.
Now, onto Gregg Williams. He’s the guy that *allegedly* offered to pay his players to take headshots during games when he was the DC for the Saints. He served a one-year suspension for that in 2012. Don’t worry I am not going to discuss that any further here. You probably feel fairly strongly on that one way or the other and bringing it up nearly 5 years later won’t add much to this discussion. But, he does have baggage and that is worth mentioning.
From a strictly football sense I will call it an average hire. To make it easy I will use total yards as the basis for this explanation: his teams are ALL OVER THE PLACE rankings wise – (NO – 25th, 4th, 24th), WAS (15th, 10th, 15th), STL/LA (17th, 23rd, 9th). And if you look at points and TDs given up you see similarly sporadic numbers. To me, that is a coach who either gets lucky every once in awhile, isn’t that great of a coordinator, or a combination of the two.
I will say that I do like some of the assistants he is rumored to be bringing with him, especially Mike Waufle to train a young defensive line. However, new assistants just means more horses on that carousel; a carousel we were told would not be running this off-season.
Finally, and my last “But” of this article, the dude does bring with him that old-school tough guy kind of coaching I love in a defensive coordinator. Maybe that’s what this young team needs. So here’s a video of Gregg Williams blasting his defense in one of my favorite Hard Knocks clips in recent memory to end this article on a humorous note.
Stay strong Browns fans, as always, there’s always next year.
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