For several reasons, Tony Dungy ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His ability to motivate players and put them in good positions to succeed was vital. Having an eye for the details and organization was another. Yet perhaps what was always overlooked about his long tenure in the NFL was his uncanny ability to identify coaching talent. In his long run as a defensive coordinator and head coach, Dungy hired no fewer than seven future head coaches, including Lovie Smith and Mike Tomlin. So it was interesting to hear his opinion on Alan Williams.
Dungy first hired the new Chicago Bears defensive coordinator back in 2001 as a defensive assistant in Tampa Bay. Then after the Buccaneers fired him, he brought Williams with him to Indianapolis. The assistant soon became the team’s defensive backs coach and a vital component to their eventual Super Bowl victory in 2006. Williams’ secondary put away the AFC championship against New England by intercepting Tom Brady. Then they put away the Bears in the Super Bowl with a backbreaking pick-six touchdown.
Dungy has always felt Williams is capable of great things.
He went so far as to say he sees the 52-year old in the same league as Tomlin. Tomlin has coached the Pittsburgh Steelers for 15 years for those who aren’t caught up. In that time, he’s yet to have a losing season and won a championship in 2008. Putting Williams in that same tier is lofty praise. Yet Dungy didn’t seem to think it was outlandish when talking to Adam Jahns of The Athletic.
When Bucs assistant head coach/defensive backs coach Herm Edwards left for the Jets in 2001, Dungy’s search for his replacement brought him to Mike Tomlin, the secondary coach for the University of Cincinnati at the time. Dungy said he had heard some “good things” about him.
“And because of that, I heard some good things about Alan Williams,” Dungy said.
Tomlin and Williams played together at William and Mary, and Dungy’s Bucs hired both of them. Tomlin took over Tampa Bay’s defensive backs group. Williams became a defensive assistant.
“He was a lot like Mike,” Dungy said.
Tomlin has become known for his remarkable consistency as a motivator over the years. Somebody capable of setting a high standard for his players and helping them grow on and off the field. If what Dungy says is true, then Williams figures to be much the same way. In his first press conference, He said that he won’t compromise for anybody. If a player isn’t willing to give his best on every play, then he’ll find somebody who will.
Alan Williams must succeed where Tomlin never had to
People forget that the longtime Steelers head coach only spent one season as a defensive coordinator in his entire career. That was in 2006 with the Minnesota Vikings. The team was 31st against the pass that year. This was despite having two Pro Bowlers in his secondary with Darren Sharper and Antoine Winfield. Pittsburgh did him a favor by pulling the trigger that following offseason. There is no telling if things would’ve gotten better after that.
Alan Williams doesn’t have that luxury. His first foray as a defensive coordinator didn’t go well either. His Vikings unit in 2012 finished a modest 14th in points allowed. The following year it crumbled to 32nd. This is why many people are skeptical of him running the defense in Chicago. Maybe he has learned some valuable lessons from back then.
The Bears can only wait and find out.
If Dungy is correct and he is like Tomlin, then it stands to reason Williams will get things figured out. He’ll get his players pointed in the right direction and executing at a high level. It is at least nice to hear the team has another quality leader in their midst. Something that will be needed in the difficult months ahead.
Post Views: 1,746