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.