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Williams Impressed with Newton's Rookie Campaign

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams
Media Availability
Friday, December 30th, 2011

How different is Cam Newton in week 17 as opposed to week 5? "He has improved a lot. His staff has done a great job. I am kind of amazed because they didn't have any spring practice, just had the limited training camp, and I'm sure that the league was whirling around his dad. How fast he has been able to slow the game down, he's made a lot of improvement. I think that is a testament to how well they coach there. I really do. I think (Rob) Chudzinski needs to be considered to be a head coach in this league with what he has done with the development of a young quarterback. I know Mike Shula very well, I've coached with him, Fred Graves, I've coached with him. I know several of those coaches on that staff that have done a very good job with how they have managed him. We have our work cut out for us. This is an explosive football team. I think they are second in the league right now in explosive plays. We are going to have to play a solid game."

How impressive is Steve Smith with the numbers he is putting up at his age? "He is one of my favorite players. He would be a guy that I wouldn't mind coaching on defense. He plays with an attitude. I've known him since I was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills and we wanted to get him up there. He plays with an attitude. He plays with a toughness. He plays with a willpower. It's fun to watch him play until we have to play against him. I know his receivers coach very well. He was my receivers coach when I was at the Bills. He also coached that kid in college, recruited him, and got him to Utah. It's  kind of a match made in heaven for those guys to get back together. Cam has energized him. His career has taken another big jump here towards the later parts of the years he has been playing. He is a very explosive football player and you can tell that he likes playing with Cam Newton."

Is the Mercedes-Benz Superdome a big homefield advantage? "It is a big advantage. I probably shouldn't say it this way but I am going to tell you exactly what I told them when I first walked in the building; I can't believe everybody comes to watch our offense play. You can't have homefield advantage unless the defense plays because they have to be quiet when Drew (Brees) plays. If the defense isn't playing very well, what are they going to do? Boo? We're going to have to get them going. When they see us play wild and reckless, with collisions, the way we play with attitude, people want to cheer for the Saints. It is the defense's job to play with that kind of an attitude. With that kind of effort. People respect effort over ability. If you play with great effort along with really good ability, then you have the chance for something special. I I have a headache for a couple of days after the games that we play here because I coach with a single-ear because I want to be able to talk to the guys on the sidelines. I don't want to cover up both ears. My head is ringing, usually, a couple days after we play. It has to be one of the loudest places in the league. It is one of the loudest places I have ever coached."

Is it a snub that there are no Saints defenders in the Pro Bowl? "I have been doing this for so long that I would be lying if I told you that didn't bother me. Our guys play really hard. We have several guys on our team that deserve that. I flunked politics and so did they. We are not going to apologize for how we play. The thing that I am most proud about our guys is that we are not out there with 'vote for me' signs. We are not out there for campaigning for things. We let the film speak for itself. Our two safeties right now, there are no two other safeties in the league that I would rather coach than them. The best safety that I ever coached in my life was Sean Taylor when I drafted him at the Redskins. These two guys here play like him. We have a lot of other guys up front that have played that way. I am glad I had a chance to coach Will Smith, I wanted to draft him a long time ago too. I am glad I caught up with him. Jon Vilma has had the injury thing, so ups-and-downs. I can't tell you why. All I can say is I will use it as motivation. I coach better with a chip on my shoulder and these guys play better with a chip on their shoulder too."

Is Jabari Greer  a guy that deserved consideration? "I am probably as proud as Jabari is. Here is an undrafted football player that comes to us and has arguably played as well as any corner in the National Football League. When Jabari, Tracy (Porter), and Patrick (Robinson) are playing the way they are playing, I am a lot better coach. They have that kind of ability, all three of them. The stats back that up with the way that they play. It is what it is. The fact that they aren't out there saying 'poor little me' or holding up 'vote for me' signs, I like that too because we will let our play speak for itself. One other thing I told them is that they wouldn't be able to play anyway. Hopefully we will still be playing. Hopefully we will be playing and they won't have to worry about that anyway."

What does the jump in success from first year to second year players mean for Cameron Jordan, Isa Abdul-Quddus, and Martez Wilson? "Hopefully, it validates the choices we made in bringing the right people here. Usually, when you have made the right choice, you see the biggest jump from year one to year two and then another significant jump from year two to year three. It validates all of the criteria that we set down of what makes a Saints defensive player. What makes a Saints football player on offense, defense, and special teams. When you see that happen, you feel good about it. You also know how we are going about teaching, coaching, and educating. We are doing that in the right way. I am real proud of those guys. Junior has come a long way. Here is another guy. I have kind of made a career of taking guys that nobody else wants. You look at him and say 'He's a pretty good player.' We all have strengths. One of the things that we do here, and Sean does a great job of it on the offensive side of the ball and I think we do a pretty good job of it on the defensive side of the ball, is we maximize each one of our guys strength and we try to package it with like abilities and use it in situations. The game is not just a game where you call the same play over and over again regardless of field position, score, or who they have on that field. You can say, 'I can match him up in this situation and we have a chance to shine.' They have to work at it. Junior has worked at it, Patrick has worked at it, Cam Jordan has come a long way. I think you will see that next year. This draft class, this year, I wish you guys could see us practice as much as we do. I am excited about the guys we have on the practice squad here too. I am excited about the guys we have waiting here. Guys that we have made an investment in. I think people will see them next year and will be happy with them."

Do you see a lot with Isa in the future? "Isa is playing very well. One more thing where I didn't even know who he was. I wish I could tell you the reason that he is here is because I found him. Our scouts do a great job and there is a good synergy between the coaches and the scouts. They spend a lot of time with 'what are you looking for in this kind of player.' We work really hard and spend a long time searching for those kinds of guys. They hit a home-run by bringing that young kid in here. He deserves to play and as you have seen, we have worked him into more and more packages each and every week."

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