What a difference a year makes.
In 2012, Gregg Williams was suspended by the NFL for the culture the league said he helped create while he was the defensive coordinator in New Orleans. In 2013, he’s getting praised for changing the culture of the Titans defense since joining Tennessee as a senior defensive assistant this offseason.
David Climer of the Tennessean spoke to members of the Titans defense about the impact Williams has had since coming on board and the topic of a change in culture came up more than once. Safety Bernard Pollard, who is also new to the team, said that the culture needed to be changed after last year’s defensive struggles and cornerback Jason McCourty, who was around as the Titans allowed 471 points, said the defense is following the aggressive tone Williams has sounded since he was hired.
“The scheme is different but the real difference is the attitude,” McCourty said. “We could tell that from the first day coach Williams was here. He told us he was coming here to change the culture.”
Improved attitude, schemes and enthusiasm are great for a defense, but they weren’t the only reasons why the Titans were strafed so often in 2012. One need only remember the defensive breakdowns that crushed the Saints in the playoffs during each of Williams’ last two years with the team to know that.
Talent matters and the Titans were short on it all over the field. They’ve acquired Pollard, defensive tackle Sammie Hill and others to go with Williams’ attitude adjustment, but the amount of improvement on that front will remain unknown until September.