PASS-RUSH POSSIBILITIES: Meanwhile, Williams spent the past week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., evaluating talent for April's draft. The Saints have the 24th pick in the first round.
Williams debunked the myth that he isn't interested in the "tweener" defensive end/linebacker prospects who project as better fits in 3-4 defenses than the 4-3 front New Orleans primarily uses.
"In all honesty, I want good football players," Williams said.
The aggressive coach, who is known to use a lot of variety and creativity in his schemes, added his popular refrain: "We have 30 ways to add up to 11. So we can use all those kinds of guys."
What Williams did stress, however, is that he isn't interested in one-dimensional players.
"Yeah, the guy that's a 250-pound, 248-pound five-technique defensive end that's (not intelligent), that can't cover anybody, I don't want them," Williams said. "Because you get (Saints offensive tackle Jermon) Bushrod and big tackles like him, they'll just (flatten him)."
Williams pointed to former Saints strongside linebacker Scott Fujita as one of those "tweener" types who was a perfect fit in the defenses he likes to run. He said after the 6-5, 250-pound Fujita left for Cleveland in free agency, the Saints used four linebackers in rotation to share all the duties that Fujita used to handle.
"You get an (Brian) Orakpo (of the Redskins), Shawne Merriman (of the Bills), those kind of guys, that's a Fujita. We have all those kinds of guys. But they have to be more than just a pass rusher to fit into what we're doing," Williams said before waving an arm toward the practice field. "There's a couple guys that look like that out here right now."
One young player already in the Saints' fold who could fit into that category is 2010 rookie Junior Galette, a raw defensive end from Stillman College who signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent. Galette spent time at end and outside linebacker in practices, and he showed some explosive playmaking potential during the preseason. But he rarely saw the field during the regular season, other than some special teams work, because he needed to refine those other dimensions of his game.
"The guy I'm really anxious to give him his chance next year is Junior. He's earned the right to get a chance now," Williams said, explaining that Galette has added power to his 6-2 frame and bulked up to 266 pounds from 258.
But he said Galette still has a lot to learn, and he admitted that he's been hard on him during his first year of that process.
"Right now, he still don't know what he don't know," Williams said.
As for smaller outside linebackers, Williams also is high on two young, but injury-plagued, players on the Saints' roster: third-year pros Jonathan Casillas and Stanley Arnoux.
Casillas (6-1, 227) was in line to win a starting job at weakside linebacker this past season before he suffered a season-ending foot injury during training camp.
"I love the kid," Williams said of the undrafted free agent from Wisconsin. "Can he play in this league? Absolutely. And here's gonna be the telling thing with Jon is: Will his body allow him to play? Because he plays exactly how you want him to play. He's vicious. He's nasty. He plays fast. He's fearless. Now, does he possess the rare gene to recover from week to week and day to day? I can't wait to watch him play."
Arnoux (6-0, 232) played in nine games, mostly on special teams, before suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury. The hard-luck Arnoux, who was drafted in the fourth round out of Wake Forest, has now injured both Achilles tendons in his first two NFL seasons.
Gregg Williams' interest in Tennessee Titans' coaching vacancy uncertain | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett can be reached at email@example.com