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Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; ....NEW ORLEANS The day after he made the infamous speech that would provide a chilling context to the New Orleans Saints' pay-for-injury scandal, Gregg Williams engaged in a conspicuous display of recklessness that some in the Crescent City still ...

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Old 08-25-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
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Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

....NEW ORLEANS The day after he made the infamous speech that would provide a chilling context to the New Orleans Saints' pay-for-injury scandal, Gregg Williams engaged in a conspicuous display of recklessness that some in the Crescent City still find even harder to forgive.

In the final stages of a rollicking, divisional-round playoff clash between the Saints and San Francisco 49ers which featured more mood swings than a "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" episode, Williams, the Saints' blitz-happy defensive coordinator, refused to sit back and play it safe. Even with the Niners 67 yards from the end zone with 40 seconds remaining, he sent extra pass rushers after quarterback Alex Smith, allowing tight end Vernon Davis to make a pair of indelible catches that catapulted his team to a 36-32 victory.

After the game New Orleans free safety Malcolm Jenkins, burned by Davis in single coverage on the 47-yard reception that set up the tight end's 14-yard game-winner, summed it up succinctly: "We live by the blitz and we die by the blitz."

Suffice it to say that life in the Saints' defensive huddle is much, much different as the 2012 season approaches.

More than two months before he was suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his role in the scandal, Williams, according to a highly placed Saints source, had been essentially fired by coach Sean Payton, who sought a sharp change in defensive philosophy. In January, Williams' lateral move to the St. Louis Rams was publicly portrayed as his own decision, but the source said Payton had made it clear that the Saints were moving in another direction.

Williams was traveling in Asia and could not be reached for comment. However, a source close to Williams insisted that he had received "offers for contract extensions throughout the 2011 season and up until the San Francisco [playoff] game" and had simply allowed the contract to expire.

Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster - Yahoo! Sports

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Old 08-25-2012, 01:15 PM   #2
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Re: Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

We got exactly what we wanted from Gregg Williams.

Everyone knew he was blitz happy and no one had a problem with it during our Superbowl run.

To throw him under the bus for doing EXACTLY what we expected out of him when we hired him is hindsight hypocrisy at its ugliest.

If we had sacked Smith or caused a fumble to win, every single one of us would be screaming how awesome Gregg's agressiveness was.

I'm sick and freaking tired of people whining about how Gregg Williams cost us that game. He was exactly what we asked for and he helped us win a Superbowl. I will be forever thankful.
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:37 PM   #3
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Re: Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

I agree. I've always been and will be in favor of attacking defenses that live and die by their aggressiveness. Hard to second guess what gave us our success in the past. What made us so successful defensively in the Super Bowl year though was clearly lost last year. Even with blitzing we could not generate consistent pressure, exposing our man coverage and serious deficiencies at OLB.

I do think Spagnuolo will bring a commitment to getting pressure with only 4-5 rather than 6+. Getting better at each manned position rather than just overloading.
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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Re: Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

I agree that he was instrumental in the Saints 1st Super Bowl appearance.

But his over-aggressiveness cost the Saints their 2nd!
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:30 PM   #5
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Re: Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

The over-aggressive strategy was to compensate for obvious deficiencies elsewhere!
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:22 PM   #6
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Re: Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
We got exactly what we wanted from Gregg Williams.

Everyone knew he was blitz happy and no one had a problem with it during our Superbowl run.

To throw him under the bus for doing EXACTLY what we expected out of him when we hired him is hindsight hypocrisy at its ugliest.

If we had sacked Smith or caused a fumble to win, every single one of us would be screaming how awesome Gregg's agressiveness was.

I'm sick and freaking tired of people whining about how Gregg Williams cost us that game. He was exactly what we asked for and he helped us win a Superbowl. I will be forever thankful.
Maybe its just me but I have never thought GW was a good DC. Even in 09 the defense ranked 25th in total yards and 20th in points against. 2010 was his best season with us, 4th in total yards. However, this is because we played the NFC West among other weak offenses.

Put it this way, we have had the #1 offense for the entirety of GW years with us. So our success was always capped by the ability of the defense. 09 we won it because the D got the TOs not because they were good. No team has repeated large TO margins back to back, TOs involve a lot of luck.

GW is average at best. Think about how the game would have played out if we had Spags as DC for the 49ers game.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:42 PM   #7
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Re: Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

Originally Posted by WhoDat!656 View Post
I agree that he was instrumental in the Saints 1st Super Bowl appearance.

But his over-aggressiveness cost the Saints their 2nd!
The change from Gary Gibbs over conservative defense to Gregg Williams over aggressive offense was fun from a fans perspective. But I don't think Gregg contributed much to the Saints success while he was here.

I will give him credit for instituting a defensive scheme that allowed the safeties to ball hawk and jump routes, and it really paid off in 2009 but when Darren Sharper left, the Saints didn't have the personnel to take advantage of those schemes. They went from 2nd in the NFL in interceptions in 2009 to dead last in 2010. 2011 wasn't any better, the Saints were second to last in take aways.

Something you'd expect a high blitzing team to be good at would be sacks and pressures. The Saints were terrible at both all three years he was here. The Saints blitzed often but with only limited results and by comparison to other teams, very inefficient.

In 2009 the Saints defense was 25th in yards allowed and 20th in scoring
In 2010 the Saints defense was 4th in yards allowed and 7th in scoring
In 2011 the Saints defense was 24th in yards allowed and 13th in scoring

What really boggles the mind is how bad the Saints have been at run defense. It seems the Saints have done everything they can to help the run defense through the draft and free agency. Will Smith is a first round pick, Sed Ellis is a first round pick, Cam Jordan is a first round pick, Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers were brought in as run stuffing specialists, and the Saints were still the second WORST at stopping the run, allowing 5.0 yards per carry. Although it's really not surprising when you watch them play and you see how bad they are at the fundamentals; tackling, gap control, getting of a block...etc.

I don't blame Williams for the loss at San Francisco. Any team that turns the ball over 5 times deserves to lose. But he certainly doesn't get any credit since his defense couldn't stop the 26th ranked offense for just 2 minutes.

And in 2010 his defense played very well in the regular season but then gave up 41 points to the Seahawks who average less than half of that (19.4) and was one of the worst offenses (26th) in the league during the regular season.

Gregg Williams defense was an integral part of the Saints 2009 Championship season and for that I'll be forever grateful. But I think it was definitely time to move on.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:30 PM   #8
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Re: Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
We got exactly what we wanted from Gregg Williams.

Everyone knew he was blitz happy and no one had a problem with it during our Superbowl run.

To throw him under the bus for doing EXACTLY what we expected out of him when we hired him is hindsight hypocrisy at its ugliest.

If we had sacked Smith or caused a fumble to win, every single one of us would be screaming how awesome Gregg's agressiveness was.

I'm sick and freaking tired of people whining about how Gregg Williams cost us that game. He was exactly what we asked for and he helped us win a Superbowl. I will be forever thankful.
Sorry Danno, I know I must be right at the top of your list, but I am going to explain my disillusionment. About two weeks after that fabulous 62-7 beat down of IndianapolisI started noticing some bothersome trends that became more and more obvious as the season progressed. It was obvious that the opposing OC's had GW figured out. You could watch the blocking schemes and see that not only did the linemen know a blitz was coming , but they pretty much knew where it was coming from. GW no longer had Sharper who not only had those mad interception skills, but also had that quality that mad everyone around him also play better to put enough fear in the QB to make him hold on that extra second for everything to come together. It was GW's inability to adjust to the other teams' adjustments week after week that did my warm and fuzzy feelings for him in. Smith's tip toe through the tulips prance to the end zone in the face of the Saint's eighty third all out blitz of the game was the final straw. I was already sticking pins in his likeness before the game ended. His little bountycrap admission/throwing us under the bus thing was only the turd on top of the litter for me. I'd have been yelling for his public dismemberment now even without the bounty thing. So yeah, thanks for 2009, but not so much for 2011. I love an ultra aggressive defense, but I admire a smart defense even more.
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:00 PM   #9
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Re: Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

Originally Posted by Utah_Saint View Post

I don't blame Williams for the loss at San Francisco. Any team that turns the ball over 5 times deserves to lose.

That's a bit of an ignorant way to look at it seeing as we were playing the number 1 defense in the league, in their homefield, and we had no defense. And we STILL almost beat them.

Joe Montanna and the 9ers turned the ball over 5 times in the infamous "the catch" game and they still won and now Joe Montanna is a hall of famer.
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:59 PM   #10
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Re: Saints' defensive policy shift started with departure of Gregg Williams after playoff disaster

I still think Williams saw the writing on the wall and did that on purpose.
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