While Brady Poppinga had no hesitation firing on Gregg Williams another St. Louis Rams linebacker is taking a wait-and-see approach.
It makes sense.
Poppinga will be an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday. James Laurinaitis is considered a key part of the defense that Williams is supposed to take over as the team’s new defensive coordinator. Poppinga spoke harshly about the bounty system Williams ran with the New Orleans Saints. Laurinaitis did not when he visited with Bernie Miklasz on ESPN 101 in St. Louis (the transcription courtesy of sportsradiointerviews.com).
“I think a lot of people are kind of waiting like everybody else to see what the league office does,” Williams said. “I know firsthand I try to not worry about things I can’t control and this is one of those things. Obviously a lot of these things were reported when he was in New Orleans, when he was in Washington, or whatever. I don’t even know the whole extent of it. Obviously it’s been in the news and you see it but until the league makes a ruling on it nobody really knows how to react or go forward.
“I know I’m still excited to work with him, I’m excited to learn his defense, and a lot of guys that I have talked to that have played under him have loved playing for him and said that he really makes you feel like a professional and takes players input in to what you do on defense so I’m excited for that experience. We’re just waiting for the league office to make a decision.”
Laurinaitis met new head coach Jeff Fisher after he was hired, and he bumps into staff members on occasion when he is at the facility. He’s anxious for the offseason program to kick off.
“I was able to stop up there and say hello when he was hired. Whenever the coaches are there we bump into them here and there and get to know them a little bit. I think we’re all kind of anxious for the starting day, and we’re kind of anxious for that because until you really start working with people and it sounds funny but until you get yelled at by the coach and share your side of the view that’s where relationships start building. At first everything is always peachy keen when you first have a new staff. Everyone is excited but those relationships are built through adverse times, OTA’s, through maybe a miscommunication on the field and then you’re challenged.
“From what I hear about Gregg Williams you’re going to be challenged a whole bunch. He likes to really challenge you in practice and put you in these situations in practice so that when you get to game day really it seems easy. I know that from Malcolm Jenkins, the safety in New Orleans. I was his best man in his wedding and just from talking to him, he said listen ‘He’s going to put you in adverse situations in practice and on game day he’s one of the coolest coaches, he’s collected, and he’s going to listen to what you guys have to say on the field.’ You’re excited to get after that and that where the bonding will begin.”
It remains to be seen how much time Williams will spend with the Rams this season. Stay tuned on that.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune