The Tennessee Titans and Greg Williams: A Touchy Subject
By Josh Gunnels
Is this a desperate move by Munchak? Image courtesy of Fox Sports.
So the Tennessee Titans have been in talks with Greg Williams, and pending a reinstatement by Roger Goodell, Greg Williams will be the new Assistant Head Coach for the team.
That’s a lot to take in.
The Titans have underwhelmed their fan base with their off-season moves as far as coaching staff changes are concerned. Almost all the hires at key positions were from within the organization, and coming off a 2011 season with little to brag about, these moves speak of apathy. The move to get Williams, however, flies in the face of that thought process.
Yes, Greg Williams has ties to Mike Munchak, as have all his hires, but this is definitely outside the box thinking. Not much could have rocked the boat more than bringing in Greg Williams. Saints players and coaches were suspended for multiple games and even up to a full season for their involvement in Bounty Gate, but Williams was the only one to be suspended INDEFINITELY. His “Kill the head and the body will follow” quotes made during a defensive meeting became infamous as they tarnished both himself, the Saints organization as well as the league itself.
Greg Williams has joined the ranks of those that many believe should be blacklisted from the game entirely. Nashville is a growing city with a lot of cultural influxes, but that retains many of it’s small town sensibilities. The move to bring in Williams may very well turn off a few of an already disgruntled fan base locally. There’s a fine line in this way of thinking though. If you want all of your players and coaches to be role models, then you would be hard pressed to even field a team in the NFL. I believe that the bulk of the Titan faithful will rejoice with this move. Yes, he preached violence in a violent game. Yet, nothing Greg Williams did was anywhere close to being in the vicinity of the crimes committed by Michael Vick, who was welcomed back into a fan base (albeit Philadelphia’s) and held by many on their fantasy football rosters.
Greg Williams repeated comments (on the tapes) to ensure his players tried to punish and hurt the opposing offensive players was a bit on the shocking side. The counter argument, however, is that he was not the first nor the last to do so, but rather the target of a witch hunt. The NFL is a violent sport and whether or not Greg Williams went over the line in a fashion inconsistent with the league can only be known by the players and coaches within the league. The league is changing quickly in a campaign spearheaded by Goodell to clean up it’s image and ultimately protect it’s pocket book.
At the end of the season defensive back Alterraun Verner had told the media that the defense was missing swagger. Through the departures of Jim Schwartz, defensive line coach Jim Washburn, and even the spunky Cortland Finnegan, the defense has lost it’s fire and tenacity over the years. If Williams signs with the Titans in any capacity, his presence could go a long way in restoring the passion and energy that this team once had.
It remains to be seen, if it ever will be, how this news sits with defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. But then again, who cares what he thinks. Gray has worked long and hard to get out from underneath the shadow of Greg Williams, and now he comes walking back in the door with a potentially superior title. Mike Munchak has given Gray a vote of confidence by letting him retain the defensive coordinator position despite giving up the most points in franchise history last year. Will Gray be looking over his shoulder now that Williams is on staff? Munchak showed that he’s not scared of changing horses midstream when he let Chris Palmer go during the season last year. Having Williams around is an awfully convenient safety blanket to have in case the defense gets off to another poor start in 2013.
This bold of a move combined with the previous hiring and firings by Mike Munchak gives a little more insight as to what type of coach he is, or at least, what type of coach he’s attempting to be. Munchak obviously doesn’t give a rat’s behind what the fans think and that’s a good thing. Right or wrong, he’s doing what he truly believes is the right thing for the team and for the future of the franchise with the moves he’s made. If he’s going to go down, then he’s going to do it on his terms. Munchak is assembling a coalition of coaches and assistants that have the same vision as he does, will follow the same plan, and preach the same gospel. This team needs an identity and I truly believe with time Munchak can form one. Whether it’s a winning formula or not, remains to be seen.
How does the news sit with you?