Gregg Williams met with NFL officials in New York on Monday to discuss his role in the recently exposed bounty system in New Orleans. What is a suitable punishment for Williams? Should St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher step in and relieve Williams of his duties as the team's new defensive coordinator before the NFL makes its ruling?
Season-long suspension is not out of consideration for WilliamsIf I was Jeff Fisher or the GM of the Rams, I would not relieve Gregg Williams of his duties at this time. It is the offseason, so there is no harm in him continuing his duties for now. But more importantly, I believe that any discipline should come from Commissioner Roger Goodell. As far as a form of punishment, I believe part of the discipline should be a suspension. This is the most damaging punishment a coach can receive. (Though that is somewhat unfair to the Rams because they were not part of the infractions.) Also, Williams should be fined the max under NFL rules because he has violated multiple rules.
As for the length of the suspension, I can't determine that without knowing all the facts, especially those from his other NFL coaching stops. But a season-long suspension is not out of consideration, depending upon the number of years this has gone on.
Rams better prepare for Goodell making an example of WilliamsWhile Gregg Williams has done a stand-up job of acknowledging his role in this bounty scandal over the past few days, with his staggering lack of leadership on this front, there is just no way that the commissioner can soften his expected penalties.
Is this the first bounty issue in the NFL? No, and it's probably not the only current program in place. But, it's the one that is on Goodell's desk, and the league has never condoned this practice. Wild West, vigilante tactics in the best league in the world? Not on his watch. Anything less than one year and Williams should celebrate.
As for Jeff Fisher? Just let the NFL handle everything first, but plan to have a new defensive coordinator ready for an extended period of time.
Williams deserves 4-6 games, but ban probably will be harsherI would think a suspension between four and six games would be reasonable punishment for Williams' offenses. While the salacious nature of the charges has created a buzz in the public, the fact that the team didn't have an inordinate amount of penalties and injuries during that time suggests the tough talk wasn't necessarily backed with actions.
I do understand, however, that Commissioner Goodell is attempting to clean up the game and make it safer for the players, and he will use this as an opportunity to send a harsh message to the rest of the league. Therefore, the punishment likely will be far greater than I anticipate.
As for Jeff Fisher and the Rams, they should designate another member on staff as de facto defensive coordinator to handle Williams' duties while he is away. The new coaching staff features several holdovers from Fisher's staff in Tennessee, so there shouldn't be much of a transition without Williams on the sidelines for a period of time.
Fisher might want to begin interview process for a new D-coordinatorWithout the full folder of facts that is currently sitting on Roger Goodell's desk, it'd be hard to dish out any fair assessment of Gregg Williams' potential punishment. Based on what we know already, however, it will also be difficult to disagree with any strict and bold delivery. A one-year suspension? Goodell could easily defend it, particularly if Williams' transgressions date back to his days with the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills.
Goodell has an important precedent to set here, and Williams most certainly had terrible timing to get caught breaking this type of a rule. Given Jeff Fisher's role on the competition committee, he'd be wise to follow closely in Goodell's shadow. No doubt, Fisher would not be out of line, disloyal or irrational to soon begin the interview process for a new defensive coordinator.