Gregg Williams Reunites with Jeff Fisher to Guide Rams Defense

Posted Feb 12, 2014

When examining Jeff Fisher’s head coaching career, it would be difficult to not pinpoint the late 1990s as one of his most successful eras. That time period, which included an AFC championship with Tennessee in 1999, also coincided with Gregg Williams’ tenure as the Titans’ defensive coordinator.

The Fisher-Williams connection has returned in 2014, following the Rams’ announcement Friday of Williams’ hiring as the team’s defensive coordinator. The Rams became the fifth different team in which Williams has taken the helm defensively. He also served as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2001-2003.

“I am excited about coaching this defense,” Williams said in a statement released following his hiring. “I would like to thank Jeff Fisher and the Rams organization for this opportunity and I am looking forward to getting to work and helping our defense become one of the best in football.”

He takes over a Rams defensive unit that was ranked 15th overall in 2013, despite deploying the league’s youngest defense. The unit also features one of the game’s most dynamic defensive ends in Robert Quinn. In addition to Quinn’s team record-setting 19-sack season, Williams will also inherit a linebacking unit led by veteran James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree, who contributed a Rams rookie record 155 tackles in 2013. Williams’ aggressive defensive style could mesh well with the Rams’ athletic, yet youthful defensive front seven. His reputation as a coach that emphasizes a pass rush merges with a Rams defense that tallied 53 sacks in 2013, the third-highest total in the NFL.

In Williams, the Rams gain a proven name among the game’s most accomplished defensive coordinators. Williams’ defenses have ranked in the NFL’s top 10 six times, including the league’s top-ranked unit in the last year he worked under Fisher, in 2000. Williams returned to Tennessee last year as a defensive assistant, and the dividends paid quickly. The Titans improved from being ranked 32nd overall in points per game to 16th in the category in a single season.

Fisher alluded to Williams’ ability to elevate the performance of the Rams’ defense in a statement released following the hiring.

“As I’ve stated before, I believe Gregg is an outstanding football coach and is capable of taking our defense to the next level,” Fisher said.