Former New York Giants linebacker Carl Banks, who played for Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, says Williams' speech was nothing unusual.
Williams, the former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator, was caught on tape urging his troops to target San Francisco 49ers players before their NFC divisional playoff game in January. Williams calls for aggression to running back Frank Gore, quarterback Alex Smith, tight end Vernon Davis and receivers Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams.
On the heels of the Saints' "bounty" scandal, the tirade paints Williams in a dark light, but Banks says the rhetoric is old hat.
"The tenor of the speech is not uncommon on a Saturday night before a game," Banks told the New York Daily News on Thursday. "Some of the stuff was over the line, but 90 to 95 percent was what you would hear within most (defensive) rooms."
Williams asks Saints players to go after a concussion-addled Kyle Williams. The Giantsacknowledged targeting Kyle Williams one week later in the NFC Championship Game.
Nothing new for Banks: "The Kyle Williams concussion thing, that's their game," he said. "Look, if he comes back from a concussion, the goal is not to give him a concussion. It's, 'Let's put some shots on him.' See if he's timid. See if he's fully recovered.
"... The whole 'kill the head, the body will follow,' that's a metaphor," Banks said. "It's coach-speak."
In this case, coach-speak that's vaulted Williams far from re-entry into the National Football League.
We get it: Coaches aren't handing out tea and crumpets in meeting rooms. The game remains a violent one, but in this case, it was the specificity of Williams' speech that generated surprise. Maybe not for Banks, but certainly for the league office.