When Gregg Williams became the chief villain tied to the bounty scandal in New Orleans last year, many figured Williams would be blackballed from coaching ever again. But the defensive expert was reinstated by the league last week and has already been hired to join Mike Munchak’s coaching staff in Tennessee, where he held his first defensive coordinator job in the late 1990s.
Titans head coach Mike Munchak joined 3HL on WGFX in Nashville to discuss his decision to bring in Gregg Williams, Williams’ fit with the time and his involvement going forward. He also touched on the team’s quarterback situation.
On the process that led to them hiring Gregg Williams to join the coaching staff:
“When I started looking at options for ways to improve the defensive side of the ball — whether it be blow it up and change everybody or try to make the staff stronger — you start looking at all different possibilities of coaches around the league that may be available, that may be free, that could be fired. And because of my relationship with knowing Gregg … we have a good relationship and I thought, you know what? It makes sense to look into it. And that’s what I did. I thought, you know what? It’s worth a call to New York. I talked to the commissioner and see exactly where his status was because I really wasn’t paying attention to all of that when it happened. I had a nice talk with him. Roger kind of went through the whole situation with me. I asked a lot of questions, got more educated on the topic and then he told me … he’s happy with the way he handled himself over the last 12 months, how he took responsibility for the mistakes he made, got punished for the past year and felt that he was probably going to reinstate him. … So that’s kind of what made us move on to the next step of me talking to Ruston and having Gregg come to town. … It seemed like this was a way to really improve my staff. And again, if it wasn’t for Jerry’s relationship with Gregg, and mine, it doesn’t happen. I wouldn’t even have considered it. I wasn’t gonna fire someone. … He came to Nashville and spent the day with the three of us. We talked, and I think the talk I had with him face to face, and saw the commissioner was right about the fact he was very honest with us, very humble for what happened, very embarrassed by what went on, what he allowed to go on, and took responsibility for it, and was really looking for a second chance. I know how much the guy loves the game. I’ve been around him for a while, I knew that it meant a lot to him. So to me, where is a better place to get a second chance than with an organization that he kind of broke in with. So that kept the process going and I obviously talked to Mr. Adams to get his approval on this, which he gave us.”
On if defensive coordinator Jerry Gray had to be convinced this was a smart move:
“Once I met with Gregg and I felt good about it after spending time with him, it made sense to continue on. I sat with Jerry and he was all in right from the beginning. I thought maybe he wouldn’t be — I wasn’t sure. I wanted to get his reaction: Am I looking at this right? Is this the right thing to do for the organization? For the defense? And I felt it was, he felt it was. He had ideas immediately on how he’d use Gregg and how they could work together. And they have a great relationship. They’ve been together a long time. Gregg’s been a big part of Jerry’s success he’s had as a coach. So I think, for me, that made it a possibility.”
On the team’s quarterback depth chart:
“There’s a good chance it’ll stay the same, I would think. Anything’s possible these days when free agency starts and salary cap stuff, you’re looking to move money around and create more. We’re going to be making moves, have some holes to fill. And I think you’re going to see us being aggressive. Not aggressive wasting money or overpaying for people, but being aggressive with contracts and maybe redoing contracts to allow opportunities to sign different people if we feel the right person’s out there to help us fill some needs. So it’s hard to tell what’ll happen until this thing gets rolling. I feel Matt’s a big part of this offense. … You have to be careful with the money, no doubt, and if you can tweak things you do it. But I think we feel real good about the three guys we have and at this time moving forward with them.”
On Williams’ involvement with the defense:
“I think Gregg’s gonna be involved in everything we do. I think it’s going to be a group effort. I think you’re going to see his influence in a lot of areas. … He’s speaking up in [meetings] already. … I think having another set of eyes that has a lot of experience is going to be very helpful to our team, so I think you’ll see him involved in a lot of ways, with Jerry, with game-planning. Certainly he’ll take a certain aspect of the game plan — whether it be third down or red zone or something — where he’ll be in charge of a few things. And like I said, he’ll sit in meeting rooms and help other areas. So I’m excited. There’s a lot he can do. He’s obviously a great resource for that area, and I think once we get rolling he’s excited to work, and I think he’s going to be a huge asset for us.”