Sean Payton made it clear on Tuesday that Gregg Williams exited his post as defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints for St. Louis all on his own.
This isn’t a situation where Williams, who was coming out of contract, was nudged out the door two years after the men combined to bring a Super Bowl championship to New Orleans.
“Yeah, well, yeah,” Payton said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayine, when asked if it was Williams’ decision. “You're talking about a guy he has worked real close with for years (Jeff Fisher). We visited (Monday), and I think there were a lot of things looking at this move that didn't surprise people. It was a matter of getting through the season, though, and not allowing it to be a distraction a week ago in the playoffs. We visited and spent some time on it and went from there. Our visit is between he and I.”
While the defense has not produced statistically like it did in 2009, Payton wasn’t casting blame on a unit that couldn’t hold up in the final minute of a divisional round loss at San Francisco on Saturday.
“No, one of the reasons we won 14 games this year is because we did a lot of good things on defense,” Payton said. “Certainly, from a statistical standpoint there are things that jump out statistically, but what we accomplished, we accomplished as a team this season. It wasn't just one side of the ball or the other.”
The Saints will meet with Steve Spagnuolo beginning today and he seemingly is a good fit to replace Williams.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune