Gregg Williams was a guy that intrigued me, maybe in the scuttlebutt that he was a bit of an arrogant arse. That would fly 180 degrees in the face of Bob Sanders, who was as much a gentleman and good guy as can be. Williams may have come in to Green Bay and turned a stagnate, ineffective defense on its ear, not giving a rip who has been signed to what extensions or how much money they're making, and get a squad to give it all up on the field or ride the pine.
Hurt some feelings along the way? Possible. Use Green Bay as a stepping stone to another head coaching job? Sure.
But when Williams went to the Saints today, Mike McCarthy is finding himself in one of two positions, neither of which bodes well for him.
1) McCarthy is finding that qualified, experienced coaches don't want to come to Green Bay, or at least, can find reasons to go elsewhere.
2) McCarthy is putting all his marbles in a very unproven Sean McDermott, who hasn't even interviewed and shown what he might do in a DC position. As we keep waiting for him to become available, the number of other quallified candidates dwindle.
Sean Payton described his intentions towards Williams, which seems a mile away from the hiring approaches we've seen Ted Thompson and McCarthy take:
“A lot has gone into this decision, and we targeted Gregg as the coach we’d like to hire after our first interview because he was so impressive and prepared. As an offensive coach, I have game-planned against his defenses in the past, and I know the problems they create. He’s an aggressive coach, but his units are always sound fundamentally. We have some pieces in place for him to work with, and I know he’s excited to get started.”Maybe Payton will end up regretting his targeting and aggressive approach for Williams, but we can't deny that the Saints got their first choice, and the Packers are continuing to interview and wait. And wait.
McCarthy has to realize that the bullseye is clearly on his back, and this decision is critical to his coaching career in Green Bay. He has already essentially admitted he screwed up eight hires in 2006, and is now looking to rectify those mistakes less than three years later.
There are two ways to look at it: the Packers are being deliberate, and maybe they decided that Nolan and Williams weren't going to work out. They believe that they will find the right guy eventually, and that time will eventually push the cream to the top for them.
Or, Green Bay isn't the plum position it once was not too long ago, and the best candidates can find reasons to choose another team for the same money, same authority, or even the same talent level to work with.
In the latter is true, the Thompson/McCarthy regime is a sinking ship that needs to make some big decisions quickly if they are going to save themselves.
And, even if the former is true, the thought that the boat is taking on water isn't too hard to fathom.
And, in either case, a defense that regressed drastically in 2008 may end up in even less capable hands than that of Bob Sanders in 2009.