Chicago Sun-Times

Colts assistant could be good fit as D Coordinator

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As Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith considers candidates to run his defense, he may want to exercise some patience so he can strongly consider a coach on a playoff team.

Alan Williams was a long-time assistant under Tony Dungy, working both with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts. Williams is now wrapping up his eighth season as the defensive backs coach of the Colts.

Williams, 40, obviously knows the Tampa Two defense, which Smith made clear Tuesday he wants to keep running here with the Bears. But Williams also has the coaching chops that Smith could be coveting.

Last season, the Colts pass defense allowed six touchdown passes, the lowest in league history during a 16-game season, and he helped develop sixth-round pick Antoine Bethea into a Pro Bowl safety.

But his most impressive coaching effort may have been this season. Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders, one of the defense's top players, played in only two games, and cornerback Marlin Jackson only played in four.

Yet the Colts pass defense, which ranked 6th last season, finished a respectable 14th in 2009. One of the keys has been the emergence of Jacob Lacey, an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State who has intercepted three passes, including one he returned for a touchdown, and defended 13 other passes. Lacey has started nine of the 16 games he's played this season.

Smith indicated on Tuesday that he wasn't in a rush to make a decision. But he's expected to at least have informal talks with Perry Fewell, the Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator who was the Bears defensive backs coach in 2005.

But Smith would not be allowed to speak to Williams until after the Colts season ends. The Colts (14-2) are considered one of the Super Bowl favorites.

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16 Comments

Its pretty obvious the new defensive coordinator is gonna be someone with a cover-2 backround, be it Perry Fewell or Alan Williams.

As far as Alan William goes, I love what he did with the Colts secondary, especially the work he did with former 6th rounder Antoine Bethea, and an undrafted guy like Jacob Lacey. But Williams had one thing in Indy that he won't have in Chicago, a pass rush i.e. Dwight Freeney. The Bears simply cannot get to the QB, and thats the root to all their problems on defense. A new play caller may help to a point, but unless guys like Tommie Harris, Gaines Adams, and even second year player Jarron Gilbert don't find a way to get to the QB, it isn't really gonna matter who is calling plays on defense. Again, for this scheme to really work, the guys up front have got to get some kind of consistent pressure, the key work being consistent. A healthy Tommie Harris, and some younger players like Gaines Adams and Jarron Gilbert stepping up will either make or break Chicago's defense this season. These guys have got to step up, for this scheme to really work you have got to get pressure plain and simple GO BEARS!!

OK Sean: I'll bite on this one, but how do you see Williams being an upgrade for the BEARS. A quick look at team defense stats versus ours shows that the Bears defense was better than the colts, in all categories except one Total yards allowed on NFL.com. He is young and familiar with the current system, but we need someone who can get the players we have to play better, if we can move the defense from the middle of the pack into the top 10 along with improvement from cutler in the redzone the playoffs are a possiblity in 2010. This hire is too crtical for Lovie and Angelo to take a chance, I say Fewell is the man; unless the Giants offer a lot of cash and Pepper Johnson does not take that job, he would be someone I'd like to look at myself (Pepper), he could do for us what Singletary has done at San Fran, but he was more of a 3-4 guy and may not fit.

Mr. Williams sounds like just the kind of teacher and leader we could use on our defense. We have two raw and young corners I personally feel could make a huge impact in Woodny Turenne and D.J. Moore. These two can become great corners with work and time. I am not forgetting Zach Bowman, but he needs to have legitamate competition from these two young corners for his starting spot. With Tillman on the other side I could see a great competition between these three with two starting at both the right side and in the nickel depending on how the new coordinator views Daniel Manning. The free safety spot is the greatest concern and should be one of the top positions (next to offensive line) to address in either free agency or the draft. I think were solid at strong safety with Afalava, Payne and Steltz battling it out in camp. Right now I would give the nod to Afalava with Payne and Steltz very close behind, but this is where effort and mindset will seperate the winner. I am curious how many of you are hoping that defensive tackle is addressed in the offseason. I still believe we need a big nose tackle to gobble up blockers and free up Urlacher and others. We all talk about increasing the pass rush, and this would allow guys like Tommie Harris to get more single blocks as well as put us into more third and longs by stopping the run much more consistently. We have some nice rotational players like Anthony Adams and Harrison, but no TRUE run stuffer. If I had to point out one issue flying under the radar it would be this issue, and getting a true run stopper in the middle would change our entire defensive complexion.

Sounds like a good idea to me. That probably means that Angelo and Lovie will not consider it.

We need to get rid of the the Tampa Two! And Lovie Smith and Angelo!

Isn't there a rule that states coaches can be interviewed if their team has a first round bye? An article on Profootball talk about the Bills interviewing Leslie Frazier suggests that's the rule: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/01/06/report-bills-to-interview-frazier-tomorrow/

The Colts have a good pass rush, though, a necessity for the Cover 2 defense and something that helps hide deficiencies in the secondary. How would Williams' secondary (and the Colts' entire defense) have done with the Bears' defensive line? Not so good, I'm guessing.

By Bill Holland on January 6, 2010 2:48 PM

"We have two raw and young corners I personally feel could make a huge impact in Woodny Turenne and D.J. Moore. These two can become great corners with work and time."

Justify that statment, why wil they become great corners? What have you seen from them that tells you that? What do they do well? News flash DC's don't coach positions, position coaches do. You still don't understand the difference between a one gap and two gap scheme. You want 2 gap players playing in a one gap scheme. It doesn't work well when you do that. You either play 1 gap with one gap players or two gap with two gap players.

Kevin their is no cover 2 without a pass rush, very good your learning. The Colts don't feature the Under Tackle in their scheme, they use their ends to generate a pass rush and use their tackles to stop the run. They have Mathis as well as Freeney. D oyou understand you will never see a healthy Tommie Harris? Stop listening to what Harris says, he is crazy. Remember he was going to break records this year and claimed he was 100 percent. Harris has been listed as injued all season long. His leg will never fully recover, no player who has had that injury has ever fully recovered. Newberry never recovered.

Lets face it folks, we're stuck with the Tampa-2 (a really effective scheme if we had the right personnel, but we don't)... You see this version of the Cover-2 defense needs strength up the middle to work (i.e. stuff the run and limit the deep ball, plus Smith's own takeaways emphasis). Case in point, when Da Bears made it to the playoffs in both te 05 and 06 seasons, we relied on a HEALTHY T. Harris (UT), B. Urlacher (MLB), and M. Brown (FS); they spent almost the last 3 years riding the pine or undergoing surgery after surgery. Vasher's/Tillman's Pro Bowl year, defensive coordinator Rivera's mind, Anderson's rookie year play, and Hester's magical special teams returns as a DB, didn't hurt either.

My 2010 coaching staff as of right now would consist of the best of what's realistic, if not idealistic:
HC- L. Smith
AHC/DL- R. Marinelli
OC- M. Martz
DC/DBs- P. Fewell
ST- D. Toub
STA- C. Tabor
DLA- E. Washington
QBs- J. Bates
LBs- B. Babich
ADBs/S- G. Byrd
WRs- D. Drake
RBs- T. Spencer
DPD- R. Jones
SC- J. Arthur
OL/TEs- ?

Creighton I would love to respond to your questions. I understand completely the role of position coaches, BUT a good defensive coordinator has the ability to see and view the competition of all his players on that side of the ball, as well as having a major input on who should start at each position and why. Certainly the ability to recognize true talent has been a flaw in Lovie's tenure with us throughout, and hopefully this can begin to be changed with a different Coordinator. As for Moore and Turenne respectfully, let me start with Moore. D.J. has shown in college as well as when he has had his limited opportunities in pre-season that he can be a true playmaker. Even coach Smith said in camp that Moore made plays on the ball that he felt only 2 or 3 corners in the entire league could make. As for Turenne, he only played in the first pre-season game and was hid by the bears the rest of pre-season because they liked him so much. I think he has natural corner skills, and he is my dark horse that if given a chance may be our most solid corner of the future. Remember, Bowman came on early in camp with solid play, and Tillman has the other side locked down, so both Moore and Turenne have not had there opportunities arise yet. As for the 1 or 2 gap scheme Creighton I am well aware of what it dictates and what it is supposed to look like. Problem with your assumption when you say "One Gap Players" is that your leaving out the fact that there is and under tackle AND a Nose Tackle!! Does Tommie Harris look like Anthony Adams....Does Marcus Harrison look like Israel Idonije.... The problem right now is the fact that the Bears are trying to play it both ways with there defensive tackles. What I mean is that they want a bigger tackle (Harrison for example) but they also want him to focus on the pass rush. What ends up happening is you end up with "tweeners" who are "OK or Good" at both (run and pass) but great or exceptional at neither. There is NO reason that a bigger nose tackle can not play in our cover two scheme!!! You said Creighton that it doesn't work well when you do this....WHY!! There is no code saying a player can only weight this or that amount or can only be good at one thing or the other! A nose tackle who can actually "HOLD HIS GROUND AT THE POINT OF ATTACK", and not get driven 5 yards down the field is actually a good thing. Lovie, by his own words the other day, may have even recognized that he needs to look at everything carefully, including his players and what they bring to the table. If the right defensive coordinator brought this to his attention, it would not ruin or "screw up" his scheme. What it would actually do is free up his other lineman like a Tommie Harris and others, as well as allow once again to have Urlacher and our other quick linebackers a chance to get freed up without guards and centers getting a block on them. We may even have the chance to be in more third and long situations because of stopping the run more efficinetly on the early downs. I am not saying that the other positions on the line, namely the under tackle and the two ends, have to be bigger "two gap" players, but what I am saying is that the nose tackle can be a much more stout and dominating run stuffer who could make a significant difference for not only our front but our entire defensive look. Thank you Creighton for allowing me and opportunity to respond.

The differance in this D from the Super Bowl till now is Ron Rivera. The reason Lovie got rid of him is that Ron played Ron's version of the cover-2 and it worked very well! Lovie as we can see is very set in HIS version of the cover-2 which isn't working for one reason or another. Any coach that gets hired will fail do to Lovie and Babich having too much imput/control of the D. Rivera had the respect of the players which allowed him to stay within his game plan. Lovie should have been happy that A version of the cover-2 was being used and it was successful! Now players are injured beyond repair, old and lost something and/or too young and under developed. Brown was let go so there is no leader in the secondary and Urlacher was out so the QB on the D was gone. They get one back but it will not to any good. The D may improve this year but if it does it will just be shear happen-stance. Major happening need going on for this D to be a real Chicago D again. Hopefully the O will be spectacular. I actually do have hope for that.

By Bill Holland on January 6, 2010 2:48 PM

"We have two raw and young corners I personally feel could make a huge impact in Woodny Turenne and D.J.
uggs outletMoore. These two can become great corners with work and time."

Justify that statment, why wil they become great corners? What have you seen from them that tells you that? What do they do well? News flash DC's don't coach positions, position coaches do. You still don't understand the difference between a one gap and two gap scheme. You want 2 gap players playing in a one gap scheme. It doesn't work well when you do that. You either play 1 gap with one gap players or two gap with two gap players.

Kevin their is no cover 2 without a pass
uggs outlet storerush, very good your learning. The Colts don't feature the Under Tackle in their scheme, they use their ends to generate a pass rush and use their tackles to stop the run. They have Mathis as well as Freeney. D oyou understand you will never see a healthy Tommie Harris? Stop listening to what Harris says, he is crazy. Remember he was going to break records this year and claimed he was 100 percent. Harris has been listed as injued all season long. His leg will never fully recover, no player whougg outlet has had that injury has ever fully recovered. Newberry never recovered.

This season the Bills Defense ranked 2nd against the pass, but 30th against the run.

Well, I'm impressed by the analysis on this post and I agree with parts of all of it. First of all, I agree with the first post that the cover 2/Tampa 2 needs a pass rush to fully function. I also agree that Tommie Harris will never be the same although he's still young, 26 I believe. He limped around all year as if one leg was longer than the other. As far as the talent base on the D-line, it's very questionable. Are any of these guys really special? Angelo's draft picks have been lacking. Harrison=Rnd 3, Gilbert=Round 3, Henry Melton=Rnd 4, Dvorcek=Rnd 3, Mark "One hit wonder" Anderson=Rnd 5, Gaines Adams Cost=Rnd 2. I'm not even going to mention Daniel Bazuin=Rnd 2. Where the hell is the production from these picks?? It's riduculous! Alex Brown and Ogunleye were solid in their prime, but they're past that point. I thought Marinelli would light a fire under the young guys but I didn't notice ANY difference. I agree with Kevin in that the pressure up front take pressure off of the secondary and that was exposed all year. Frankly, I don't care who the DC is, I don’t see it improving unless these young guys show something that they haven't shown so far.

In re: Alan Williams, good coach. Reason for success, good drafting, reason for good drafting, Bill Polian. We have Ted Phillips. Nuff said!

Let's get real here: the Bears are rotten to the core, and changing assistant coaches will not help anything. They need a new team president, general manager, and head coach. Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic might make you feel like you're doing something useful, but you're not. How in the world could the Bears be a winning organization with a president who's nothing but an accountant, a general manager who either does not recognize talent or does not know how to get players who fit his head coach's scheme, and a head coach who does not have his team properly prepared for games, cannot motivate his players, uses schemes that will not work for various reasons, and refuses to change schemes even when he doesn't have the players to run them properly and even when the rest of the league has figured out how to defeat them?

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on January 6, 2010 11:27 AM.

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