Saints coach Sean Payton and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will reunite on Sunday, when Williams brings the Browns defense to New Orleans. On Wednesday, reporters covering the Browns asked Payton at the tail end of a conference call about the renewal of a rivalry that saw Payton hang 49 points on Williams the last time the two men squared off.
“It sounds like a juicy question,” Payton said. “There was a bunch of softballs and all of a sudden here it comes. Listen, my relationship with Gregg is great. He was part of a championship we won one year. He has done a great job in Cleveland. You can see his defense made six takeaways last week. You see that on tape. You see the way they are playing with confidence. I think this game is more about the Saints and the Browns and finding a way to win regardless of how many points it takes. They are a team we do not get to see often obviously being in the AFC, and we are going to focus on all of the things that can come up in a game, but there is a lot you have to prepare for. Gregg has done a great job with creating different pressure looks. Also, they are very disciplined in their zone looks so that is what I would say.”
Payton likely was tempted to say more. After all, it was Williams’ bounty program that got Payton suspended for a full season, six years ago. But Williams wouldn’t still be in the league after the bounty brouhaha if he didn’t know a thing or two about running a defense. And he clearly does.
He’s bringing the Cleveland defense back to life, and it will face a tough test in New Orleans on Sunday, against a New Orleans offense that knows a thing or two about moving the ball. After seeing his own defense give up 48 points at home in Week One, Payton surely would love to put another 49 on Williams.