I know this is primarily a Colts or Saints piece of interest, but since the article's participants are ex-Jaguars I just could not resist. Let me predicate what is to come by saying this is not some covert means of propping up Peyton Manning. Rather, it is a direct reaction to the idea that Greg Williams is some defensive genius upon whose back the Saints emerged victorious from Super Bowl 44.
Big thanks to John Oesher over at www.IndyFootballReport.com for the tweet.
In an interview with Michael David Smith over at ProFootballTalk, DE Bobby McCray had this to say about Williams's impact on the Peyton Manning.
"He was going against a great guy on our side of the ball, which is Gregg Williams. He makes quarterbacks panic and do things they don't want to do, and that puts our players in great position. As you can see, he thought he was throwing to Reggie Wayne but he threw it to us one play. It's just the play design we have on defense. It was a great year and our defensive coordinator has done a lot of great things for us this year."
What? I can understand being excited about taking down the juggernaut that is Peyton Manning, but to use the word "panic" in reference to how the defense impacted PM is nothing short of foolhardy. Without saying anything as to Bobby's performance (or lack there of), a cursory review of the game itself offers sufficient evidence to the contrary. I'll just make two points.
The Saints never stopped Manning
A simple look at the drive charts details who did the stopping. Here are the scoring\missed scoring drives.
- 5:53, 53 yards, 11 plays - FG
- 4:36, 96 yards, 11 plays - TD
- 5:26, 76 yards, 10 plays - TD
- 6:22, 56 yards, 12 plays - Missed FG
I'm real curious as to where the "panic" was on that 96 yard drive. As to times the Colts had to punt, here is that summary.
- Third possession of the game: Addai gains 9, loses 3 and then Garcon drops the ball.
- Fourth possesion of the game: The Colts run the ball three times from their 1 yard line (after a goal line stop) and are just short of the first down.
- Seventh possession of the game: The interception upon which great debate has taken place with respect to Wayne's lack of effort\bad route.
- Eighth possession of the game: Manning drives the Colts to the NO 3 yard line before losing it on downs.
At best I'll give that last stop to the Saints, but they were up by 14 points. Of the seven drives that actually meant something, when they weren't scoring the Colts stopped themselves. A quarterback with concern for his opponent does not manufacture double digit drives with ease.
Defense and Special Teams
The onside kick, as we all know, was a big difference maker as it kept the ball out of Manning's hands to start the second-half. With that possession swap the teams each had the ball four times in the second-half (well, to be fair the Saint's fourth possession was just a kneel down so we could call it three.) But even then all the teams did was swap touchdowns. Add the missed FG and Indy's inability to stop Brees, and you have the point of failure. Or how about the fact that the Colts forced the Saints into a 3rd downs situation only once in the entire second half.
Before the rant, it serves to remind the reader that Williams left on "amicable" terms. There was no desire to retain him nor did he have a desire to remain. He was looking for greener pastures (Green Bay, New Orleans) that did not require too much rebuilding.
That said, we here in Jacksonville saw what a Greg Williams defense can do: not much without the players. In New Orleans, Williams benefitted from coaching a more seasoned and talented unit that was complimented by a top-tier offense. How hard is it to defened when you know the other team has to air the ball out just to keep up?
Yet, how much did the Saints really gain with Williams at the helm? The difference in points allowed between these two teams in 2009: 39 (Saints 341, Jaguars 380). In 2008 the Saints allowed 393 points to the Jaguars 367. How about who gave up more yards per game in 2009? Saints. Rushing yards per game? Saints. Passing yards per game. Jaguars, just ahead of the Saints. Points per game? Jaguars 23.8, Saints 21.3.
Where is the vast improvement for the Saints?
I know this should not grate on me. To my knowledge there has not been a deluge of articles berating the Jaguars but I have heard some talk that Williams should have been retained. I fully admit that Greg did the best with what he had and expecting Reggie Williams and Matt Jones to give David Garrard the weapons to be big offensive producers didn't help.
The bottom line is that regardless of how attacking Greg William's style of defense may be, it wasn't as if we saw some rebirth of the 2000 Ravens. Maybe I'm just being petty and hyper-sensitive but the word "panic" just set me off. I know full well McCray didn't mean any cut at our Jaguars but there is a hidden back-handed insult lurking in his words. Or at least I made it so.
- Brian Fullford