Approximately a year ago, the Tennessee Titans decided to part ways with offensive coordinator Norm Chow. He was replaced by a guy Jeff Fisher was all-too-familiar with: former Titan OC Mike Heimerdinger.
Let’s fast forward to 2009. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz could be leaving the nest to become the head coach of the 0-16 Detroit Lions. Early speculation suggests that in-house candidates such as Dave McGinnis and Chuck Cecil could have a shot at taking Jim’s place if he departs.
However, there’s another potential replacement who once roamed the Titans’ sidelines as the team’s defensive guru.
Recently let go by the Jags, could Gregg Williams follow in the footsteps of Mike Heimerdinger by becoming the latest former assistant to reunite with Jeff Fisher?
Gregg Williams is an accomplished defensive guru in the NFL. As defensive coordinator for the Titans from 1997-2000, Gregg’s defenses were hard-hitting groups that combined front-four pressure with exotic blitzes coming from all over the field.
In 2000, the final year of his tenure in Tennessee, his unit set several franchise records. That Titan defense allowed only 191 points while accumulating a franchise single-season record of 55 sacks.
Besides the dominance of a younger Jevon Kearse, I also remember those defenses as being a collective pain in the rear for the opposition. With other stalwarts such as Blaine Bishop, Samari Rolle and Randall Godfrey, those were some dynamic units that combined tenacity with the ability to cause turnovers.
Since departing Nashville, Williams has had successful defenses in other NFL cities such as Buffalo and Washington. Most recently, his last defense had their share of issues in Jacksonville, thanks to the decision to jettison DT Marcus Stroud and several key injuries.
Of course, as a result of having such a strong resume, there will be other suitors for Gregg’s services. The Packers and the Saints have him very high on their lists as they look to fill their DC vacancies.
However, according to Michael Lombardi of the National Football Post, Gregg may not choose an employer until Schwartz makes his decision, which could indicate G-Will’s possible interest in a return to Tennessee.
Personally, I think that the Titan defense will be in good hands regardless of what direction they take in the event of a Jim Schwartz departure.
Linebackers’ coach Dave McGinnis has defensive coordinator and head coaching experience under his belt as well as a rapport with the current Titan players. Former NFL league-office badboy turned assistant coach Chuck Cecil is an up-and-comer who has done an excellent job as defensive backs’ coach and whether it’s sooner or later, he’ll eventually get the chance to run his own defense in some NFL city.
As usual, Total Titans will keep you posted on how this situation plays out.