Jeff Fisher hired his offensive and defensive coordinators less than a week after the St. Louis Rams hired him as their new head coach. On Tuesday conference call with the media, Gregg Williams and Brian Schottenheimer answered questions and talked a little about their approach to coaching. It offered some useful insight into what the Rams will look like in the coming season.
The call made some impressions on me, and I wanted to share them. I'll be around in the comments if you want more details or reactions to what Schottenheimer and Williams had to say.
Here's some thoughts from the interview with Gregg Williams. I'll have more on Schotty up later.
Williams started by answering the question why he opted to join Fisher in St. Louis.
"You can't tell your best friend no."
The connection between Williams and Fisher runs deep, that much was obvious from Williams' answer to that question. Their friendship goes way back to their earliest days in coaching. "Here's a young guy from L.A. and a young guy from the sticks of Missouri that formed a friendship."
The particulars of that relationship as it relates to coaching the Rams will be known soon enough. From this angle, it's comforting to hear. Fisher can allow his trusted, experienced friend to run the defense. That fits with the impression others have given us about Fisher as a guy who doesn't micromanage his coordinators.
Working relationships like that can facilitate a quick turnaround for teams, even businesses and other organizations. Williams talked about a turnarounds too.
Williams touted himself as a culture changer. "Everywhere I've been, that's why they hired me," Williams said.
His job now, one which he's already started by watching game tape from 2011, is to evaluate and make determinations about the roster. Williams would not offer any opinions of players on the Rams roster, which is understandable.
He noted that in what tape he has seen, that the Rams defense played hard this year, for the most part. He credited Steve Spagnuolo for that, and cited a "good nucleus" for his job of turning around the defense.
"My specialty is handling people, especially difficult people," Williams said. "Coaches make mistakes when they try to pigeonhole players."
Williams billed himself as a coach more focused on people than one enamored with Xs and Os or committed to a particular schematic dogma. That was refreshing to hear after the last three years. If there was an idea system, Williams noted, then every team's defense would look the same.
He credited his success as a defensive coordinator to his adaptability. That means that the Rams won't be trying to force players into roles they aren't comfortable with or can't play. So no Chris Long as a standup linebacker. With a good core of talent on the defensive side of the roster, I think Williams ought to be able to improve this unit in 2012. It will be interesting to see what moves he makes.
People tried and tried to press him for details on the Rams roster, but Williams would not budge. Every player on the roster is being carefully evaluated, "interviewed," as Williams described it.
I suspect some of the turnover that happens between now and the start of the season will surprise fans.