ST. LOUIS – Longtime NFL Coach Gregg Williams has been hired as the Rams’ defensive coordinator, the team announced today.
“I am excited about coaching this defense,” said Williams. “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.”
Williams presided over five separate top-five total defenses during his coaching career, and as a defensive coordinator or head coach (15 seasons), Williams has led seven top-ten overall defenses.
Williams and head coach Jeff Fisher have previous experience working together as Williams was on Fisher’s staff for six seasons with the Titans/Oilers, including four as defensive coordinator.
“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.
Williams spent the 2013 season with the Tennessee Titans, where he served as a senior assistant/defense. With Williams’ influence, the Titans made great strides defensively last season. Tennessee ranked 16th in points per game allowed after finishing last in the NFL in 2012. The Titans improved to 14th in total defense last season after ranking 27th the previous year, were 11th in pass defense after a 26th-place finish in 2012, and Tennessee was 7th in the league in third down defense after ranking 21st a year earlier.
Williams, a Missouri native who played quarterback at Northeast Missouri State, was the defensive coordinator in New Orleans from 2009-11, following a one-year stint in Jacksonville as defensive coordinator, where in 2008 the Jaguars held 10 opponents to 20 points or less. He spent the previous four seasons (2004-07) as assistant head coach/defense with the Washington Redskins.
Prior to joining the Redskins, Williams spent three seasons as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, where the defense improved each season. In 2003, the Bills ranked second in the league, jumping from 15th in 2002 and 21st in 2001.
Williams’ reputation as a defensive coach was forged in his years with the Houston/Tennessee franchise, where he served for 11 seasons (1990-2000), including as coordinator over his last four years with the club. Initially hired as a defensive quality control coach, he was promoted to special teams coach in 1993 and took over as linebackers coach from 1994-96. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1997.
In 2000, the Titans led the NFL in total defense for the first time since joining the NFL and allowed 191 points, which was at the time the third-fewest in league record books since the adoption of a 16-game schedule in 1978. Tennessee also set club records with 55 sacks, fewest passing yards allowed (2,424) and fewest touchdowns allowed (17). It completed a two-year stretch where the Titans posted an NFL-high 109 sacks.
Prior to arriving in the NFL, Williams was a graduate assistant at the University of Houston from 1988-89 under former NFL head coach Jack Pardee. From 1984-87, Williams was the head coach at Belton, Mo., High School after opening his coaching career at Excelsior Springs (Mo.) High School.
Williams played both football and baseball at Northeast Missouri State and later earned a master’s degree from Central Missouri.