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Remembering 21: Gregg Williams (JLC Piece)


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Originally posted by Bubba in the Breaking News section, I thought it deserved a look over here where it coulde be commented on.


Remembering 21: Gregg Williams

Editor's Note: One year ago tomorrow, Sean Taylor was shot during a break-in at his Miami area home and died the next day. We'll be posting recollections about Taylor's life, his football talent and his death under the category "Remembering 21."

Former Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was kind enough to spend a few minutes on the phone the other day to talk about the first anniversary of Sean Taylor's death, which will fall on Thanksgiving this year. The two men shared a special relationship, and I'll basically step out of the way here, and let Williams, who was assistant head coach -- defense with the Redskins and is now defensive coordinator in Jacksonville, speak.

"Not a day goes by that I don't think about him. It's hard to believe it's been a year. I really miss him. My family really misses him. He was a very special young man, and [the] best football player I ever coached."

Williams carries a coin that bears Taylor's likeness in his pocket every day, and writes No. 21 on his play card before each practice. And sometimes, the coach in him can't help but think about what he'd do differently with Taylor. He thinks he may have asked the safety to do too much, too soon, focusing too much on Taylor's incredible physical gifts without giving him enough time to settle into the transition to the NFL.

"Early on when he first came to DC, from my standpoint of looking for him to do too many things," Williams said. "I would blitz him because he was so physical and elusive in the blitz game. He could play in the run front and he could do so many thing that normal players couldn't do that sometimes me as a coordinator asked him to do too many things, but he never ever once complained."

Williams talked about the luxury of having a player like Taylor and wondered just how dominant the pairing of Taylor and LaRon Landry could have been.

"It would have been the toughest safety tandem in the National Football League for a lot of years," Williams said.

Taylor had a tendency to deviate from the system sometimes, with an instinct for the bal and a propensity for big plays. That made for some interesting moments for the coaching staff at times.

"Early in his career we used to laugh after the fact and rant after the fact," Williams said. "It could be frustrating to coaches when he would abort his responsibilities in the defense because of his instinctive knowledge of where the ball was going and he'd go get the ball and it would not be his responsibility to make that play, but he would still make that play.

"I would be angry and get after him about violating the defense and not playing it the way it was, but I'd have to shake my head, because he also knew where the ball was going and he was right in most situations."

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