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Williams: "We Have Our Work Cut Out For us Against Panthers"

Saints Defensive Coordinator talks about the challenges of facing QB Cam Newton and the Panthers RBs


New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams
Media Availability
Friday, October 07, 2011

Can you talk about the challenge of facing Cam Newton?
"He's a very good athlete playing the quarterback position. It's interesting how that position has changed over the course of years. We have one already in (Josh) Freeman in Tampa Bay. There are a lot of similarities with those guys on their ability to extend plays because they're big men. Even when you do get shots at them in the pocket or shots on them outside the pocket, they're able to bowl you over or able to shrug you off. I'm really impressed with that staff. I thought Ron (Rivera) put together a real strong staff over there. I have a lot of respect for the guys on both sides of the ball there. In a short time they've done a real good job of packaging plays for them and for him. We have our work cut out for us. If you really take a look at those games and every snap that the young man's taken, they've played Green Bay very, very well. They played Chicago last week really well. They played Arizona down to the wire and played well when they beat Jacksonville. They can create some tough matchups for us and we're going to have to play real well."

Are Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams overshadowed?
"I think they're overshadowed a little right now with the new staff coming in there and also with what Cam's come in and done. We have a lot of respect for those two backs. They're as good as any one-two punch in the league."

Do you believe in spying a quarterback?
"We have a lot of concepts where we have to do that. We were kind of on the cutting edge of a lot of that for a few years. It depends on if that person deserves a spy. It also depends on the situation of the spy, but you will see certain teams that do it flat-out every snap. That's a wasted person. We pick our times."

Do you want to take advantage of the fact that this is an inexperienced quarterback who has turned the ball over several times?
"Yes, but I want to tell you this that they've done a good job with him as a staff. They limit those opportunities for you. They're well-coached. They do a real good job in what they ask him to do. They take a lot of the decisions out of his hands. They have an experienced offensive line and an experienced coaching staff. They have the attention of our entire football team. Our defense is impressed with what we've seen on film on what they've been able to do."

Can you discuss emphasis on takeaways in general?
"Last week we did a good job, had our hands on the ball, had four legitimate opportunities where we had our hands on the ball. Those things come in bunches. Another thing we're doing a real good job on is with our hits and contact on the quarterback, where these things are created. We need to get the ball out a little better, create some overthrows. We're touching the ball pretty well in the secondary. In order to be able to take the ball away you have to be really good around the ball. You need to maximize the opportunities to put your hands on the ball."

How much of Jim Johnson's approach do you see in Sean McDermott's defense?
"I've always studied other defenses. Ron Rivera, I love him. He comes from playing for Buddy Ryan. There's a synergy there between him and I. Sean, growing up in that system does a really good job and there are instances where I've seen a mixture of that kind of stuff. I have real good respect for him."

Has Cam Newton's decision-making accelerated?
"It's better than I would have given him credit for. I really do believe in what they've done in coaching, you can tell the young man accepts coaching, is eager to learn, will do whatever you ask him to do. Just from the preseason games into the regular season games, he improves everyday you go out on the field week-by-week, game-by-game. He's done very well."

What's it like being a coordinator in this division with the quality of quarterbacks?
"Hopefully for the rest of my career I'll go to places where I coach defense with one of those. It's easier when you have a Drew Brees on your side of the ball. This division happens to have these quarterbacks. It's exciting, yet nerve-wracking for a defense. You need to know that your on you're A game every single week because you have very good playmakers at that position. When you have playmakers at that position, it gives you a chance to play in postseason. This is a good division."

Was there any thought process going into drafting big players like Cam Jordan and Martez Wilson based on the presence of big quarterbacks like Josh Freeman and Cam Newton?
"No, people ask me what kinds of players I like. I like good players. They come in all sizes and shapes and fashions. We wanted to get a little bigger on the interior, just for the run and these two running backs and the big guy in Tampa Bay. We (our division) has big running backs. In that aspect, that decision was based on that position."

Has Jordan done well in stopping the run?
"He's done real well in all phases of the game and each week it's been fun to see him grasp more and more. He played very well last week. We gave him one of our weekly awards, which is called an attaboy."

How has Jo-Lonn Dunbar played?
"He's played very well. As I said they come in all sizes, shapes, fashions, forms. He can play all three positions, is a very good decision-maker. We all have warts and limitations through genetics, but he's a sharp, instinctive, tough football player and he can play more than one position. He helps us out a lot. He played well last week"

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