If Browns fans expect Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams to dial back the rhetoric compared to his predecessor in the second half of the season, here’s a warning. It’s not going to happen. Diplomacy is not this man’s strength.
If nothing else, Williams is a straight shooter, unlike Hue Jackson who came at you from multiple directions. You might not like what he says because good, bad or otherwise, if it’s on his mind, it’s on his lips. He gave a preview of it in his initial news conference the other day.
Flaunting hubris that flowed in large chunks along the way, the new coach was swift to remind the Cleveland media of just how good he is and how much others around football had sought his valuable services after his three-season stint as head coach of the Buffalo Bills (2001-03).
“Since I left Buffalo, I’ve had 11 letters sent in to interview for head coaching jobs, In all of them behind the scenes . . . in four of them I didn’t even have to show up,” he boasted. “(They said) Just sign the contract and come.”
He turned them all down, even the ones where all he purportedly had to do was sign a contract and the job would have been his. He conveniently did not mention on what level those sight-unseen job offers were offered.
When pressed by ESPN’s Pat McManamon, who wanted to know if those were offers from National Football League teams, Williams backed off . . . somewhat.
“I probably never should have said that because I put other people on the spot,” he said. “Those things were easy for me to do because if it is not right, it is not right. I just chose not to do that and chose to keep doing what I was doing and got a raise every time I stayed wherever I stayed. It just is what it is.”
Well that clears that up. Like a good politician, he did not answer the question that was posed.
Williams viewed his new job wistfully. “You know what is fun about sitting in a chair and being a head coach?” he said. “Coaching football. Not coaching marketing, not coaching scouting, not coaching ticketing, not coaching analytics. Coaching football. And when people say you can’t do that and be the head coach, you don’t know.”
That last statement qualifies as a bunch of disqualifying blather.
So how did Williams get the job as interim head coach of the Browns to begin with? Process of elimination, that’s how. Sort of a last-man-standing scenario.
After the ax fell on Jackson and Todd Haley on Monday, Williams was the only high-ranking assistant coach left. Special teams coordinator Amos Jones was still there, too, but there was no way he was getting the gig.
To call Williams colorful would be like calling the Louvre an art gallery. He is clearly not going to be a favorite of the Browns’ public relations people not win any popularity contests. His rough edges have rough edges. Typical shoot first and ask questions later kinda guy.
“I’m not looking for a whole lot of friends anymore,” he said. “If I want a friend, I’ll buy a Labrador.”
He also made it rather clear he had nothing to do with elevating running backs coach Freddie Kitchens to be his offensive coordinator. “That was done,” he said. “No. That was done. That was not me. That was everybody else.”
In other words, General Manager John Dorsey for certain and likely other key members of the front office.
Buckle up, fans, because the second half of the season will be a whole lot bumpier than the first half with the volatile and unpredictable Williams at the helm and liable to say just about anything that comes to his mind.
I think it’s pretty safe to assume that with his abrasive nature, the likelihood of Williams becoming the club’s permanent head coach is about as sure as the club changing its mind and rehiring Jackson.