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Gregg Williams, Former NFL Coach

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
January 19, 2024 4:26 pm

Gregg Williams, Former NFL Coach

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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January 19, 2024 4:26 pm

Former NFL Coach  joins Zach to talk Antonio Pierce and NFL Playoffs.

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Zach Gelb
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No long-term commitments or contracts. That's Code Program. All righty, rock and roll. Now we're number two of our radio program. It is the Zach Gelb show, coast to coast on CBS Sports Radio. Busy football Friday with the divisional round games getting set to kick off tomorrow.

We got eight teams remaining, and we'll get to our final four once Sunday does conclude. Let's go out to the guest line right now. Welcome in longtime NFL defensive coordinator, had head coaching stints in Buffalo, and also was the interim in Cleveland, and Greg Williams is kind enough to join us once again on the show. Greg, always great to have you on.

Appreciate the time. How you been? Been good, Zach, and thanks for inviting me on. You guys do a great job for the fans, and it's important to do that. You know, I've talked to you before about that with my father-in-law, Mike Shannon, who passed away last May. He used to always poke me and say, make sure you're doing things for the fans. They love the game.

No, I appreciate you saying that, and thanks so much once again for jumping on board. I know you've probably have seen this before, but it just did break that Antonio Pierce is finalizing a deal. He was the interim this past year for the Raiders to become the full-time head coach of the Silver and Black.

I think you guys did have a crossover for one year in DC. How do you react to Antonio Pierce appearing to get the Raiders job? I heard that right before we got online, and you know, I'm waiting for a confirmation for sure. I hope that, and I'm so proud of him. I'm very happy for him, and it also shows Mark Davis that Mark, you're smart about doing that, not letting him get out the door.

So I'm very, very happy for him, and I couldn't be more proud of him. You know, it does seem like we're moving in a trend here in the NFL where they're trying to hire a bunch of offensive-minded guys to be head coaches. Now, I say that knowing D'Amico Ryan's a defensive-minded guy who's had some success in Houston, to say the least, and you're number one, but to see another defensive guy looking like he's getting a head coaching job, just what does that mean to you personally? Yeah, I think that's fantastic, and you know, it's about managing the game. It's about managing all aspects of the game, and you know, I was an offensive coordinator or quarterback a long time ago, you know, special teams coordinator, defensive coordinator, head coach, all that kind of stuff is, but you've got to be able to do the game, and if you're good enough, whether you're an offense or a defensive coordinator, if you're a defensive coordinator, you want to hire good people to do that part of the job, and even if you're an offensive coordinator, and I've talked a little bit about the fact of, do you have the ability to hire and manage a person so that you don't have to do the play calling?

You're still on it. You know, when I was the head coach here at Cleveland Browns for the interim, I was still involved with all that. I was involved in the game planning. I changed the playbook and did a lot of different things and eliminated a lot of the clutter and all that kind of stuff, but as a head coach, you've got to be able to manage the game and manage all aspects of the game, and a good person can do that. And you had that experience, right, of being in the interim like you were just talking about in Cleveland. Unfortunately, you didn't get the head coaching job, so to see Antonio rewarded with this, you know, that had to be tough for you because, like, you put in the work, right?

You started winning games in Cleveland where you guys didn't win that many games, obviously, before that, and to just see Mark, like you said, make the right move, like, you could have gone elsewhere, but to learn from what he did a few years ago, not giving the job to Basacchia, I think it really just shows that growth in the Raiders organization recently. I do. I do.

I do believe that. It does show the growth with the fact that, you know, you let Richie Basacchia get out of there. I think it does, and I could have stayed here, but the way that they wanted it structured behind the scenes, you know, with GM ownership and all that kind of stuff, you know, about meddling into things that they didn't need to be a part of, you know, I basically said adios, and those are the things that you have to be able to do it, and the younger guys that are just looking for an opportunity, they allow that meddling to go on. I'm at that point in time in my career, I love being a coordinator.

I love being a senior assistant, that kind of stuff, but if I'm going to be the head coach, I'm going to have final say, and that's just how it is. Talking to Greg Williams right now, I got to ask you about Baker Mayfield, right? You know Baker from your time together in Cleveland. He's had to bounce around since Cleveland, didn't work out in Carolina, had a little bit of a run with the Rams towards the end of the season, but to see what he's done stepping in place of Tom Brady in Tampa Bay to be in the last eight teams standing, pretty remarkable by Baker Mayfield. You know, you're now hit another home run, you know, with Antonio Pierce first, and now here comes Baker with the question. He's one of my favorite all-time players. I've had an opportunity to coach, you know, when I took over, and first thing that people need to understand about Baker, all really intuitive, high-level athletes.

They can smell BS for a long ways off, so a mile, 10 miles, 20 miles off, and Baker has great intuition. He's a very smart young man, and he quickly learned how much I knew and how we are going to go about doing things, and he bought in a thousand percent. I am so proud and happy of what he's doing right now, and in fact, you know, Todd Bowles and I had a conversation before he signed him as a free agent, and I said, Todd, you definitely need to sign Baker, and if he doesn't perform well, that's your fault. He has a skill level, but you got to make sure of how you're going about managing him, managing everybody else, and he did a great job. I thought Todd did a great job on who he ends up hiring, the young offensive coordinator who's done a great job with Baker too.

I'm so happy, so proud for him, and look forward again for another shootout this weekend. I've always liked Baker Mayfield. Some people don't find him easy to root for, right? He gets a bad reputation, but why do you think that is?

Because I never really understood that one. You know, because Baker doesn't put up with BS. Baker is going to be directly honest, and Baker, take a look at his teammates. Do you see how supportive his teammates are?

Here's one thing if you're watching the game. Anytime you're watching the game or practices, do you see those offensive linemen do everything in the world to protect him? When Baker goes down, who's the first person to the pile to go over and make sure they help him up? Who is that? And it's going to be the offensive lineman.

It's going to be the receivers. He has a synergy with everybody else. He is a teammate. He's not a person that's out there flaunting himself and doing things that I see as he has grown.

He's done a better job managing his expressions or managing his words in press conferences too. He's a really good young man, I'm telling you, and that's why his teammates support him. Yeah, and I think it brings up a great point that you just made, Greg Williams, because right, that team went from being an average team to a great team with Tom Brady. And then you lose Brady, and you know how much Brady was looked at in that locker room, right? And people, right, it's the GOAT, it's the greatest quarterback of all time. That's not an easy spot for Baker to walk into, and it speaks to the type of leader that he really is, that right away from early on in the summer, those guys were praising the work that Baker Mayfield was putting in.

No doubt about it, that's a great analogy. And even at a lesser level, the great analogy of when Flacco came into the Browns, and all of a sudden you saw the support from his teammates because they can smell it. They could tell right then this guy can help us and wish he hadn't thrown those picks that he threw in the game that ended up costing them.

But people inside the white lines can smell, okay, and can sense whether you're a warrior that they want to go to war with. And Baker's done a great job with that, and I'm proud of him. Greg Williams here with us. Since we were talking about the Browns, you just brought up the Flacco point. Do you believe, because it's now been a while, off the field problems clearly, then also getting injured as well, the suspension and all that, do you believe Deshaun Watson can be a really good quarterback once again in the NFL? I think that it's going to take a lot of work but Jimmy Haslam signed 230 million reasons why they have to keep working with him.

You know, when you guarantee a contract, I know the other owners weren't very happy about all that, and you saw the price of all quarterbacks get driven drastically up in the air over that contract. But they have a lot invested in him. I do believe Deshaun is a very hard worker, but he's going to have to be able to stay healthy.

He's going to have to be able to adapt. And again, here this past week, you know, I was shocked that they let the offensive coordinator go, the running back coach go, the tight end coach go. So you see there's some type of a morphing going to be going on with who they bring in to take those positions. And I would not be shocked if it's somebody that has coached a style of offense that Deshaun has mastered and done well in. And they're eliminating excuses now to make sure it's time for you Deshaun to step up and perform. You're not having to fit into somebody else's blanket system. Okay, they're going to morph into them.

That's just my idea. I don't know for a fact. I do believe that Andrew Berry, the GM there I'm close with, I think he's done a very good job of managing the roster and doing a good thing there too. So they need to get healthy, but I think you'll see more of an offensive identity that is more complimentary to what Deshaun does.

Talking to Greg Williams right now. So Jordan Love was sensational last week. CJ Stroud as well, both in their first playoff starts, they get victories. And now the Packers play the 49ers, tough defense. We know the Texans play the Ravens, tough defense. If you were going up against those young quarterbacks, what would you try to do though to throw a Jordan Love or a CJ Stroud off their game who are both rolling right now? Well, I think the Packers did a good job and I think not enough credit's gone to Matt Leflore on what they did game plan wise.

And I have a lot of respect for Dan Quinn too, but Dan didn't do a lot of package mashing. I don't think very well in this last game, because as you saw the Packers do quite a bit of two and three tight end type stuff. They were playing more of sub packages. The Cowboys were with a five, six and 70 bees in the ball game and really 60 bees for an awful lot of it. And they were just getting ball, you know, run right up parts of their body. And you can't do that. You got to match personnel.

You got to make them pay check to the pass game and all that kind of stuff up. And they were able to run the football and do a good job with that. And I think both Jordan and CJ have done a great job of managing the game, limiting turnovers or what I call giveaways and make the field position be as long as possible for the opponent. And you can't have giveaways in playoff games because, and where points get put up on the board also with a pick six.

Okay. And those types of things it's hard to overcome because the talent disparity in playoff games has shrunk drastically over some divisional games that you're playing in your division. So I think it did a really good job with that.

And here's what I would say. I would say that the number one thing, especially CJ, because Jordan's seen a little bit more in his tenure in the league, you have to change the pre snap look that he's taken a look at and change into post snap looks. And I think that's one of the things that Steve Spagnola is doing a better job than a lot of people. And I go to he and I are both the older coaches in the league and Belicheck understands that too, but you can't let the quarterback understand what you're in before the ball snapped. You got to make sure he's got to figure out when the ball snap. So now one of the big guys can get there on a hesitation and you've made the quarterback hold the ball longer. And now the big guys can put some thumping on the quarterback. And so we'll have to see that.

And that's a number one thing on my notepad this weekend to try to see what Aaron Glynn does and what they do to try to change those looks. And Steve Wilkes is going to do that at 49ers to change the looks to make those guys make post snap decisions. Talking to Greg Williams right now. Coach, when I hear you speak, we still hear the energy that you have about the game and just knowing, you know, I think one city that maybe you should make a stop in is Philadelphia to potentially be their defensive coordinator.

Would that still interest you being a DC in the NFL again? Oh yeah. Yeah. And I'm going to do that. I've had opportunities, you know, for 42 years, I never had a chance to be around my family. So my contract was extended, you know, and I had time on my contract and I spent some time around my family, which is outstanding. And then, you know, the Wayne, the rock Johnson, you know, I have a lot of respect for and love to death. I, I helped him and had been helping him get the XFL. Now the UFL started. So I did the D coordinator job at the DC defenders, Washington DC defenders. But yeah, and I'm, there's quite a few people, a lot of people, you know, reaching out to me right now and, uh, with the right people, the right situation. Yes, I am going to get back in it.

And I think because of the time I've been around my family, they want me out of the house too. How would you try to fix the Eagles defense right now? Cause it was shocking.

They were 10 and one, uh, right. That team looked like they were going to be going back to the Superbowl and the entire team just collapsed down the stretch. Here's what I would say. I would say that defensively, be it both of them since they and Matt, you know, those and Matt's a good friend of mine too, but I saw them have a defensive structure on what they know, not what players could play each and every stop that I've been at. I've had to change the structure of what we're doing defensively to fit the players that are playing. And if you don't think that all of a sudden your number one corner goes down during the game, your number one defensive end goes down in the game. Somebody gets hurt in the game and the next man up that you have to change, you got to change to protect those guys within a game, whether the long, whether it's a game plan or whatever, there has to be more of an understanding of where they're at in the secondary and people want to be ripping everything going on there in the secondary, but those guys can play certain aspects of coverage and how are we identifying that these are the types that they're going to do? And then how also do you help them by again, when I say you're not going to know what we're doing pre snap, you're not going to know an old, yep, that guy, that's the guy I want to pick on. Anyway, you don't know all of a sudden, maybe he's getting double help. Maybe he's getting rolled over the top.

Maybe somebody else is coming. And those are the things I've been able to do now that I've coached 2,500 NFL players and over a thousand of them call me on father's age every year. So I must not be as big a prick as everybody says I am. Absolutely love that. It's also the, the, the tackling in Philly. I've never seen. Oh my gosh.

Yeah, go ahead. It was terrible. I have a sound, you know, I'm in my, at my son's house up in Cleveland area and he's got a beautiful theater room and they got to take the grandkids and everything out of the house because they hear me in the basement screaming and yelling at poor tackling and drop passes. Nothing more pisses me off than when I see a poor tackling individual or a person who can't catch the ball. And I tell the guys all the time in a funny way, but I say what I mean, I mean what I say, it's now time for you to go up and sell beer in the stands because you can't play.

It's absolutely awesome. Greg Williams here with us a few more with the former head coach and also a soon to be defensive coordinator. Again, you know, everyone this week and what we do, it's been the Eagles, it's been the Cowboys and why they've lost looking at the Cowboys offense. I know their defense struggled immensely, but Dak has been such a lightning rod as a quarterback.

You were, let's say your game planning up against Dak. What do you see out of him? That would maybe keep you up late at night or is it just hey, he's a good regular season player become postseason time. He just can't get the job done. No, I think he's an outstanding player and I think I think Mike has done a tremendous job on how he's adapted to things that he knows he's not doing the same things he was doing Aaron Rodgers. He's not doing the same things he was doing Brett Favre. He's not doing all those things. He's adapted to what within their verbiage within their style of play to what that can that can do.

And I thought he had a hell of a regular season. Now I will tell you, you know, the Packers defense hasn't been very good, but I will tell you that Joe did a really good job on changing and tricking a couple of pre-snap looks that caused Dak into throwing picks and he hasn't been doing that. And those are the things too that you have to do.

You know, you've got to change that look. Dak is a great processor of information. You know, I've known him since, you know, they first drafted him, you know, and gone to get some in practice and all that kind of stuff. And we used to practice together at some of the teams that I've been on. He's a really good quarterback and the next step will be taking him through that next level. But it was unfortunate on the giveaways and it was unfortunate on some of the matchups that happened defensively.

And again, it was just a couple of head scratching things that I saw, you know, on some coverage busts there too on defense. He's Greg Williams. Greg, always appreciate the time. Best of luck and with the future and good health to everyone in the family. Thanks for doing this. Well, thank you, Zach. And I appreciate that. And I really do believe that you do a great job with the fans. I'm going to do this podcast with Hayter, FFL in Washington, D.C. tonight. And if anybody wants to have a good time, you can get online, YouTube online, Valley Sports and Watch Come Get Some, which is the podcast and TV show that I'm doing with my son.

And sometimes I have to you know, he has to put a hand on me to censor me a couple of times. Absolutely love it. Coach, thanks so much. Appreciate it. Be well. You too. Be safe.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-19 18:29:17 / 2024-01-19 18:38:02 / 9

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