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Tag:Gregg Williams
Posted on: September 22, 2011 9:38 am
Edited on: September 22, 2011 9:39 am
 

Jay Cutler on surviving 2011: 'I don't know'

Posted by Will Brinson

Jay Cutler got the old rag-doll treatment on Sunday as Gregg Williams and the New Orleans swarmed on him, pushing the Bears into dead last in sacks allowed (11). Somewhere in the mix he was literally kicked in the throat.

Given the beatdown that Cutler's been getting this year (and the year before) because of Mike Martz offensive designs, it makes sense to ask him if he think he can survive this season. Which is exactly what Mike C. Wright of ESPN Chicago did.

"I don't know," Cutler said hoarsely, when asked if he could survive. "I don't know."

Cutler was also asked about the league-high 11 sacks and whether spending most of his time at the office on his back was making him uncomfortable.

"I'm not worried about it," he said. "We're 1-1. There's still a lot of football to be played. If this continues, then obviously we're gonna have a problem. We're gonna have to address it. But I'm looking forward to this game. I know the guys are gonna bounce back, as will I."

And Cutler, who typically gets hosed any time he makes a comment in public, might not even be using "we're gonna have a problem" to mean he'll start getting mad at his offensive line.

It's entirely possible that he's talking about "a problem" as the Bears losing lots of games. Or the offensive line managing to get their starting quarterback decapitated.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:34 am
Edited on: September 8, 2011 5:09 pm
 

7-Point Preview: Packers vs. Saints

Posted by Will Brinson



Eye on Football's patented 7-Point Preview will get you prepped for some of the biggest games of the 2011 NFL season. Don't forget to check out our podcast preview below and Subscribe to the Pick-Six Podcast on iTunes.


1. Green Bay Packers (0-0) vs. New Orleans Saints (0-0)
The NFL is back. (!) And what a way to kick things off, huh? The last two Super Bowl winners square off at one of the sport's greatest venues, Lambeau Field, in primetime on a Thursday following a turmoil-filled lockout that eventually led to one of the craziest offseasons and most anticipated regular seasons in recent NFL history.

It's also the first time that two Super Bowl MVPs -- Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers -- will face off against each other on the NFL's opening weekend since 1993 -- when Troy Aikman and Mark Rypien, of the Cowboys and Redskins, respectively -- went head-to-head.

And presumably the first time that Kid Rock has been within 100 yards of whoever the people are that form Maroon 5. Of course, these bands apparently impressed Packers wideout Greg Jennings, who referred to this game as a "mini-Super Bowl." Mr. Rodgers would like to disagree, sir.

"It's a similar feel to a big game, a playoff game," Rodgers said. "I don't want to say the Super Bowl. There's a big atmosphere outside the stadium. But the only thing that matters is taking care of business on the field."

Winners of Super Bowl XLV last season, the Packers have pretty good historical odds on their side in terms of this opening game. The previous 45 Super Bowl winners are 37-7-1 in their season opener the following year, and 10-0 in the last decade when it comes to showing up early and often the next year.

But then again, the last ten Super Bowl winners probably weren't chugging beer cheese in the offseason, and everyone knows how nasty a hangover that creates.

Of course, that's all the past. We're talking about the future now, and both these teams should be wearing shades. Thanks to the roster-building skils of Ted Thompson, the Packers are arguably the biggest favorite to win the Super Bowl again in 2011 and, honestly, look like team with dynasty stamped all over it.

The Saints had a "down" year in 2010, but are clearly motivated by their embarrassing wild-card loss to Seattle last year and certainly have the personnel and the talent to get back to February.

2. What the Nerds and Degenerate Gamblers Say:
Well, Vegas unsurprisingly has this game as a high-scoring affair, as the over/under is set at 47.5. That's the highest point total of the entire first weekend, which is interesting because it just occurred to me that the lockout will probably cause suppressed over/unders to start the season. And 47.5 is unsurprising because the lockout has people so jacked for football that their willing to throw piles of money on touchdowns.

The Packers are a (relatively) heavy favorite at -4.5. None of our NFL experts picks went towards New Orleans straight-up, and only Clark Judge and I selected the Saints against the spread. I don't want to say that Clark and I came out firing last year and you should bet on the Saints, but Clark and I came out firing last year. You should bet on the Saints.

Unfortunately, there are no stats on-hand to say "hey, the Packers and Saints can really throw the ball well" just quite yet. At least not for this season anyway. But, it's quite interesting that the Saints and Packers are very close in Football Outsiders' projections for the 2011 season. Green Bay's defensive DVOA is nearly elite (like, almost top-six) and a very stout good offense (like, almost top-10).

New Orleans doesn't project to having a particularly impressive defense, but their offensive DVOA is elite, ranking in the top-five.

3. Key Matchup to Watch
With that nerdiness in mind, perhaps the best matchup to pick is Aaron Rodgers vs. Greg Williams. Look, Rodgers may not like fancy GQ photospreads, but he's a very talented quarterback who, as Ryan and I mentioned above, has gotten very good at moving quickly through his progressions. Add in his athleticism and unbelievable arm and, yeah, he's very good at football and very difficult to contain.

That's where Williams -- a fiery fella in his own right -- comes in. If you want to beat Rodgers, you have to put him on the ground. And if you want to put Rodgers on the ground, you have to blitz him, unless you can generate enough pass rush from your defensive line to get through Green Bay's offensive front. (Good luck with that.)

"The one thing about Aaron Rodgers that’s most impressive is that he was the best quarterback last year against the blitz and the pressure," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "He gets the ball out of his hand quick, so we've got to find ways to create some things."

Given that defensive end Will Smith is suspended for this game, there's an even bigger onus on Williams to generate pressure on Rodgers from somewhere other than straight-up defensive fronts.

If he can put Rodgers on his butt early, the Saints will be able to scale this thing back from a full-on shoot-out. If not, we could see a lot of Packers players doing their best Michael Jackson impersonations into the end zone.

4. Potentially Relevant YouTube
This is the first time in Thursday night Kickoff Weekend history that the past two defending Super Bowl winners are playing to open up the season and, frankly, I love it. Of course it doesn't really hurt that it's the Saints and Packers, which should provide fireworks on both sides of the ball. To honor their recent success, as well as Freddie Mercury's recent would-have-been birthday, why don't we bring back some Queen to our previews?



5. The Packers will win if ...
Rodgers can stay on his feet. The lasting reminder of Rodgers, for anyone who watched the 2010 playoffs, is that he's untouchable. And his mobility does make it hard to bring him down. But if you'll recall, Rodgers and the Packers looked like they were going to miss the playoffs when the quarterback had to sit out against New England -- a game Green Bay nearly won with Matt Flynn under center -- last year, so it's not unheard of for Rodgers to get knocked around a bit.

If he can stay on his feet and remain untouched during most of Thursday night's game, though, he'll end up finding Jennings, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver and James Jones and Jordy Nelson plenty of times, and probably end up giving Williams a new highlight reel to show his defense.

6. The Saints will win if ...
They can establish the run and keep Green Bay's talented linebackers from attacking too much. It's something that's doable -- the Packers ranked just 24th in the NFL in rush defense in 2010. But despite the stereotype that the Saints are a passing team, they truly found success (and a Super Bowl victory) in 2009 by running the ball extremely well, as they finished sixth in the NFL with 131.6 yards per game on the ground.

That dipped off tremendously last year, which is precisely why they jumped up in the draft to grab Mark Ingram. If he, starter Pierre Thomas and the speedy Darren Sproles can generate a substantial ground attack, the Saints have a very good shot at prevailing.

"There’ll be plenty of touches not only for Pierre, but for Mark and Darren," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "And it’s our job to mix those up and also to let the running back get comfortable and get in a rhythm when he's in the game."

That (those?) comfort zone(s) will be key for a potential Saints win.

7. Prediction: Packers 24, Saints 21

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Posted on: August 30, 2011 8:59 am
 

Williams showed Saints Marshawn TD for motivation

Posted by Will Brinson

In the opening round of last season's playoffs, the Saints traveled out west to play the Seahawks in the Wild-Card round. The results were anything but predictable, as Seattle -- double-digit dogs at home in the playoffs and a 7-9 division winner -- shocked New Orleans right out of contention for a Super Bowl repeat.

The most memorable moment of the game? Marshawn Lynch rumbling to the end zone for an earth-shaking (literally!) touchdown.

Clip of Beast Mode's run, which was as embarrassing for the Saints defenders as it was awesome for Lynch and the Seahawks, is now serving as motivational fodder for Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as New Orleans prepares for the season.

"It was classic Gregg Williams," cornerback Tracy Porter told Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports. "He wanted to give us that motivation coming into this year. He didn't want us to come into the season not knowing we had a bad taste in our mouth. He showed that [play], and it definitely put us on edge.

"Now it's time for payback."

Needless to say, the clip of Lynch's run isn't too popular around the Saints training camp -- rookie defensive end Cameron Jordan said that "around here, it's blasphemy" to talk about the run. (Or, more accurately, how he told his Twitter followers to vote for the fellow former California star's run during an awards show.)

And it's unlikely that anyone who played for the Saints in 2010 will ever like to see the highlight of Lynch plowing through an entire defense en route to the end zone.

But if the Saints defense can rebound to their 2009 level as a result of Williams' motivational ploy, it'll probably be a little easier to stomach.

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Posted on: February 2, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 6:23 pm
 

Updating the Titans head coaching search

Posted by Andy Benoit
G. Williams (US Presswire)
Good news for Titans leading head coaching candidate Mike Munchak: Saint defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has pulled himself out of the running. Williams was supposed to interview for the position, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that he will instead stay in New Orleans. Schefter cited Williams' loyalty to Jeff Fisher and the Saints.

Williams also removed himself from the Denver Broncos’ head coaching search earlier this offseason.

Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is still expected to interview. Doing so will satisfy the Rooney Rule (te Titans needed to regather in this sense after Ray Sherman decided not to interview). Fewell's interview could pave the way for a Munchak promotion in the very near future.

Earlier Wednesday we wrote that Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is in the mix. The Titans have also interviewed their own offensive coordinator, Mike Heimerdinger.

But Munchak, who has been with the organization for three decades, is said to be a favorite of owner Bud Adams.

A Munchak hiring, however, would go against GM Mike Reinfeldt’s preference for someone with previous head coaching experience. Of the bunch who have interviewed, though, only Mularkey and Williams have previous head coaching experience. (Though Fewell was an interim head coach in 2009.)

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: January 29, 2011 12:02 am
 

Report: Munchak leading candidate for Titans job

Posted by Will Brinson

The biggest difficulty for the Titans right now -- outside of moving the "Ringling Brothers" sign to the rear of the facility -- is replacing the now-departed Jeff Fisher.

It appears that offensive line coach (and one of the few guys left on Fisher's staff before he departed) Mike Munchak is the leading candidate at the moment.

That's according to Terry McCormick of Titans Insider, who cites sources indicating the Titans like Munchak but will also interview a number of other candidates "including an applican to satisfy the Rooney Rule for minorities."

While there are only 32 head coaching jobs in the NFL, that doesn't mean filling one of them this late in the "coaching season" and this close to a potential lockout is a difficult task.

Perry Fewell is a name still sitting out there as a strong candidate (Josh mentioned him yesterday), but given his earlier concerns about being a token Rooney Ruler, he might not be interested in interviewing.

Gregg Williams is considered a strong possibility, but there are two tremendous concerns. First, he might not be able to bring his son (Bud Adams isn't a big nepotism fan, apparently) along with him. And secondly, he might decline to interview out of respect for Fisher.

Munchak, a 2001 Hall of Fame inductee, doesn't have any head coaching experience, but he's apparently well-liked by the team, having coached under Fisher since 1995.

"I think he’s a person, given his playing career and his coaching career, he’s certainly a person that you’d have to consider," said GM Mike Reinfeldt. "Again, we’re kind of in the early stages of this, so it would be kind of premature to answer that question at this point in time."

On the other hand, Reinfeldt stressed "head coaching experience" as a "good thing," so that's not great news. But he did play on the Oilers with Munchak, so he'd theoretically know as well as anyone whether or not the guy can handle the job.

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Posted on: January 27, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 7:52 pm
 

Who could replace Fisher?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Here are three possibilities who could take over Jeff Fisher's old Titans job:

  • Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell: Already Fewell has interviewed for three head coaching spots this year, so at this point, he’s the most-experienced interviewee of the offseason.
  • Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips: This relationship goes back a long way. It might be too soon to rehire the fired Phillips, but Adams employed Phillips’ dad, Bum Phillips, in the ‘70s with the Oilers, and those teams had plenty of success.
  • Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams: Apparently, he and Adams have a nice relationship, and he was in the Oilers/Titans organization from 1990-2000. But according to Rapid Reporter Larry Holder, the lack of a starting quarterback in the organization could keep Williams away from the position. Plus, he and Fisher happen to be really good friends, so Fisher certainly could discourage Williams from taking the job.
By the way, this is what Williams told Holder earlier this week at the Senior Bowl regarding potential head coaching openings: “It has to be the right job. Here’s what I say, when you have players and you have coaches that answer you in absolutes, they’re lying to you. So for me to say ‘I never,’ I couldn’t say that. But I can say that I have a great job right now that I love. Love! "

Also, Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean has floated the name of offensive line coach Mike Munchak who could be in line to replace Fisher.

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Posted on: January 27, 2011 6:10 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 10:11 am
 

Fisher and Titans parting ways (UPDATED)

Jeff Fisher and Tennessee have parted ways (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In a move that's had the NFL buzzing - so many questions: why now, what's next, how did this happen? - Jeff Fisher has coached his last game for the Titans.

The move is awfully surprising because owner Bud Adams essentially chose Fisher over troubled QB Vince Young in a showdown of the loser-must-leave-town following Tennessee’s 6-10 season. But according to SI.com's Don Banks, who broke the story, Fisher was troubled that he had to fire defensive coordinator and close friend Chuck Cecil while very well-respected defensive line coach Jim Washburn left for Philadelphia.

UPDATED (6:51 p.m.): Though Fisher’s team was going to have to play well in the final year of his contract in order for him to save his job, he’s been the respected Titans coach since 1994 when the club was known as the Houston Oilers. Since then, Fisher’s squads earned a 142-120 record with a combined six postseason berths, four division titles and a Super Bowl XXXIV appearance.

Plus, he had a Hall of Fame mustache and, most likely, he will have a few choices for head coaching spots after next season. Although some on Twitter have already begun to wonder if Fisher could be a candidate for the open Eagles defensive coordinator spot, that seems like a bit of a stretch at this point (though perhaps Washburn being there might be a positive).

But now the Fisher era in Tennessee is over. So, where will the Titans go for their next head coach? And for that matter, will Adams want Young to return?

As for the second question, it wouldn’t be a huge shock (certainly not as shocking as THIS news). Young is still only 27, and though his practice habits and work ethic have been questioned – as well as his attitude – he still could be a solid QB in the NFL for the next few seasons. Give him a coach with whom he can connect – that was a vital missing component in his relationship with Fisher – and maybe Young could be a top-10 guy in the league.

Plus, you know, Adams seems to have a soft spot for Young.

And I can’t leave without passing along this quote from Adams, courtesy of the Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt:

“Where did you hear that? I better check on that. I can’t talk about it now … I really can’t talk about it now because I don’t know what’s been said. I want to see what is going on.”

UPDATED (9:00 p.m.): The Titans and Fisher have released statements.

Statement from the Titans:

“We will be forever appreciative of Jeff Fisher’s leadership and accomplishments through his time with our franchise. We reached some of our greatest heights and experienced some unforgettable moments during his tenure.

“After the season was complete, we had numerous discussions on the direction of the team and were pleased that we were moving forward with Jeff at the helm. Since that time, it became evident that consensus was increasingly hard to find and reality wasn’t matching the vision we discussed. It is unfortunate that this decision is coming at this juncture, but we believe that we have reached the point where change is in the best interest of both parties.

“We will start the head coaching search tomorrow. We expect to talk to a broad and diverse group of candidates. We are confident the coaching pool still has a number of quality candidates that can lead our football team.”

Statement from Fisher:

“I want to thank Mr. Adams and the organization for a special 17 years. I can’t thank the fans enough for the support they showed us through the years; it has been a tremendous experience. We all did our very best and I think I can look back with fond memories and be very proud of what we accomplished. I want to wish the organization, the current players and the fans nothing but the best in the future.”

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Posted on: January 18, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 3:41 pm
 

Seahawks fire OC Jeremy Bates

Posted by Will Brinson

In a surprising turn of events, the Seattle Seahawks fired offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates Tuesday.

The news was first reported by the NFL Network's Mike Lombardi, who tweeted that Seattle canned the first-year OC who followed Pete Carroll from Southern California.

What makes it particularly surprising is that just two weeks ago, Bates was being universally praised as the Seahawks whipped the Greg Williams-coached Saints defense in the wild-card round.

However, a quick look at the stats from the 2010 season show a Seahawk offense that wasn't exactly, um, "potent" -- Seattle averaged less than 300 total yards of offense per game, averaged 4.9 yards per play, converted just 35.5 percent of their third downs and averaged 27:33 time of possession, fourth-worst in the league.

Then again, Jay Cutler (43 yards) outrushed the Seattle offense (34 yards total) this past Sunday, so perhaps there's a logical reason for the personnel move. Or, there could be a candidate sitting out there that Carroll really wants to target. Like, say, Josh McDaniels, whose name immediately sprung to mind when the Bates firing was confirmed. And, as it turns out, the Seahawks have been talking to McDaniels since Monday.

CBSSports.com's Clark Judge reports that the Seahawks have a very good chance of landing McDaniels, but that he's still "50-50" for the job in St. Louis.

Either way, it's pretty clear that the Seahawks aren't above shuffling their coaching staff as often as they shuffle their roster in the early going of the Pete Carroll era.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com