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Williams on Hasselbeck "He's a Friend Until We Play"


New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams
Media Availability
Friday, December 9, 2011

Are you going to go to the Sugar Bowl game to watch Virginia Tech?
"I'll be there.  We're hoping we'll have a bye, but you don't know.  What we're doing is going to come first.  I'll find my way to get to the game."

What are your thoughts on Matt Hasselbeck?
"He's a friend until we play.  I think he's as good as any veteran quarterback we play with understanding the game.  He plays with a lot of instincts, which when you do that you take coaching out of it.  The really good players take the robotic coaching out of it because they can play the game.  Drew (Brees) does that so well.  (Tom) Brady does that well.  A guy that's played as long as Matt takes a lot of the things that you try to trick up and he can figure those things out.  It doesn't take him very long.  He's played the game for a long time because he's smart and he's productive.  We have our work cut out for us."

Does that Seattle game still sit in the back of your mind?
"I'm sure if you talked to any of our guys throughout the course of the week, they'll tell you I've been on them hard.  He's in a little different system now.  He still controls it there.  I know a lot of those guys up there, and it's been a long time since I've been in that building.  It's been 11 years since I've been in that organization.  Six of those coaches played for me and three other ones coached with me and one other one I hired and was with me with the Redskins.  There's familiarity there.  Once you get inside the white lines, the players play the game.  That's why it's fun really with the guys we have here is that good coaches understand that you don't take away player instincts.  As we continue to grow here, the more instinctive our players play here makes me look like a better coach.  You don't want to fill their heads with so many things.  I tell them all the time I don't want to coach robots.  This is not a video game.  There's human error, human element, and everything in the game.  You guys have to be able to make decisions on the fly and on the run.  Our guys are growing in that way and hopefully they grew a lot from that game last year."

Can you talk a little about Chris Johnson?
"He picked a nice month to start finding his stride.  Not only just him, but also the guys around him.  You have to be so sound that he's one of those few backs that can take it the distance against you.  You make a mistake similar to some of the other guys we've played, you can have two guys at the point of attack on block, and he shimmies and shakes their ankles off on a move and it doesn't matter how many players are there.  We're going to have to swarm him and do a good job with that.  You pick your poison when you're putting more people to stop him and less people on stopping the pass.  There are all those situational things you have to do, but he's very talented.  He didn't get all that money unless he's talented, and he's very talented."

Is your run defense also having its best month?
"We're improving each week without all the early stuff and early preparation.  We're improving in those things.  With the multitude of packages we've played, we've kept guys healthy that way.  Like I spoke earlier in the year, one of the things was that we have a couple of older players in certain positions we try to not have and not play as much early in the year so they can play in the month of December.  They're playing pretty well."

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