CHICAGO - It has been more than eight months since commissioner Roger Goodell exiled Gregg Williams from the NFL for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. Williams got hit with his punishment mere weeks after being hired to the be the St. Louis Rams new defensive coordinator.
Goodell told SB Nation at the league's fall meetings in Chicago that he has not considered reinstating Williams and will not consider such a move until after the season ends, at least.
Williams has been seen around lately, getting special dispensation to watch Rams games and to file affidavits about player involvement in the bounty scandal. Since then, there has been speculation that Williams would eventually be allowed to return, with some whispers that the Rams were keeping his spot warm.
Whether or not Williams is allowed to return to the coaching ranks remains to be seen. As for the St. Louis Rams, they don't appear to really need him.
One of the main questions asked of the Rams prior to the start of the season was how the team would do with its coordinator-by-committee approach. Fisher, a former defensive coordinator, would work closely with Dave McGinnis, a former coordinator and head coach, as well as Chuck Cecil, also a former coordinator. It turns out the Rams defense is doing just fine without him.
Blake Williams, Gregg's son and the team's linebackers coach, has emerged as something of a de facto defensive coordinator. He calls the plays and does the lion's share of the game management.
If it looks like a coordinator and it smells like a coordinator ...
The Rams are allowing an average of 311 yards per game, the seventh-best mark in the NFL. Teams are scoring an average of 18.5 points per game, fifth-best mark in the NFL. In four of their six games, the Rams defense has limited opponents to less than 25 points.
Much of that success comes from the team's pass defense, which has allowed only four passing touchdowns, tied for the fewest in the league. Only five teams allow fewer than the Rams' average of 211 passing yards per game.
The run defense has shown notable improvement as well. In the Rams' last two games, they have allowed a total of 64 rushing yards.
So much for a team doomed without a defensive coordinator.
There are some who think a return to the NFL would be impossible for Williams, his stature diminished in the wake of his role in the bounty scandal and the subsequent testimonies to implicate players involved. First, he would have to be allowed to return to the coaching ranks by Goodell, and that will not be happening any time soon.
As for the Rams, they have a productive troika of defensive minds - McGinnis, Cecil and Williams - running the show under Fisher. The younger Williams, by all accounts, is well on his way to becoming a coordinator in title too, which means the Rams may get their man after all.