Titans DC Jerry Gray Channels Gregg Williams with Latest Soundbite
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: October 05, 2012
Sounds like Tennessee defensive coordinator Jerry Gray has retained some words of wisdom from his time spent working with suspended Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (he of “kill the head” / Saints Bountygate fame). Gray made some soon-to-be-scrutinized references to the “Gator truck” (the green cart used to remove injured, immobile players from the field) when addressing the poor performance of his secondary.
In reference to his defense (which has allowed the most points and second-most yards of any team through four games), Gray said “You have to say, 'This is my territory between the numbers, and if you throw the football, you better bring the Gator truck.' And that's how you have to play. You can't play timid in the NFL.”
This reminds me of a time in early 2010, before Super Bowl XLIV, when Gregg Williams courted headlines with this golden nugget of a soundbite:
“The big thing is that [then-Colts quarterback Peyton Manning] throws the ball so early that we’re going to have to do a good job of finding ways to get to him and when we do get to him we’re going to have to make sure he gets a couple ‘remember me’ shots when we get there. When you put too much of that type of worry on a warrior’s mind, he doesn’t play all out. If it happens, it happens. And the only thing you’d like for me to say is that if it happens you hope he doesn’t get back up and play again.”
Ahh, yes. You hope he doesn’t get back up and play again. We all know how that panned out: Super Bowl victory for the Saints, but the subsequent discovery of a massive pay-for-play scandal that remains unresolved and continues to produce headlines two and a half years later.
With all the League and media attention Bountygate hath wrought upon Williams and a handful of others, one has to assume Gray is speaking in the most exaggerated, I’m-not-REALLY-encouraging-my-players-to-cause-injuries way imaginable. But Gray did serve under Williams for a few years, as the defensive backs coach to Williams’ defensive coordinator in Tennessee before following him to Buffalo, where he assumed role of defensive coordinator to Williams’ head coach. The two even reunited for a season in Washington, where Gray once again served as defensive backs coach.
It would be reckless of any NFL coach or coordinator to speak in such terms, as the League continues to place public precedence on player safety, but it's a particularly foolish miscue for Gray, given his history. Gray may have been attempting to motivate his players, but has just as likely done them a disservice; it stands to reason that on-field officials, as well as the League front office, will be watching Tennessee’s defense with an extraordinarily skeptical eye from this point forward.
UPDATE 10/5, 3:30pm: That didn't take very long. Jerry Gray has already attempted to distance himself from his poorly chosen words.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @arahomik
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