When Gregg Williams walks onto the field at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday, it will be the first time as an NFL head coach since 2003.
Williams became the interim head coach for the Cleveland Browns this past Monday due to the firing of Hue Jackson. It’s the second head coaching opportunity for the defensive minded coach. The first in 15-years, but it’s not without other opportunities presented his way in the last decade and a half.
Since I left Buffalo, I have had 11 letters sent in to interview for head coaching jobs,” Williams said. “Right now, all of my focus and concentration is on this week and then let’s build weeks upon weeks upon weeks and see how much we can.”
So can Williams be in the mix for the job once the calendar turns to 2019? It’s possible if he does a good job and progress turns into wins over the next eight games.
Two key factors toward earning the job on a permanent basis is building up a solid relationship with the last two number one overall picks. It starts with quarterback Baker Mayfield.
“When he came in on our 30-man visit, he came straight to my office and gave me a come get some lecture,” Williams said. “I thought that was so cool about how he came on the 30-man visit on the competitiveness of not being afraid to compete and how he was going to be. That is what your quarterback should be. He and I have had a very good relationship from Day 1.”
“I did not see anything about that until later on,” Williams said. “My interpretation was I did not interpret him saying that when I saw what he said. We talk about that every day. He and I talk about that every day, and people handle frustrations differently. He is totally fine. It is really a non-issue.”
And finally what about his relations with general manager John Dorsey?
“John and I go back to when he was still playing and I was coaching in this league,” Williams said. “I’ve known him since forever and have had tremendous amount of respect for him as a player and then also had respect for him once he decided foolishly or whatever to go into this business, too. I respect the job that he does. I want to do what I am asked to do. You can’t be a master of all of those things at this level. I want to do my job, and that comes from my trust that you can do your job. We have a good trust with each other.”
In addition to being the acting head coach, Williams remains the Browns defensive coordinator. Can he handle all the responsibility both roles present? Will he continue to be a risk taker?
“When we talk about risk takers, what I have done defensively everywhere that I have been is adapt a system or scheme to fit the player profile and the needs systematically of how offense, defense and special teams work together. I have coached all of the positions and all of that. We have to be all in sync together. Right now, I am wearing out a lot of people upstairs with a lot of meetings that are going on that it is fun for me to see the smiles on their face because maybe I might know something besides defense. I do now know, we will see. I do not know.”
Hopefully the risk taker question will be answered beginning Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. As for having the interim tag removed from Williams’ current job title? We’ll just have to wait and see what happens on the gridiron these next two months.