Gregg Williams has made it clear that he expects to be a Redskins coach for the long-term.
Each of the last two Decembers, when the NFL coaching carousel starts to spin, Williams' name has been prominent among candidates for coaching jobs in the league. This offseason, Williams aims to end any speculation about his future before it starts.
"When are you guys starting the story this year that I'm leaving?" the Redskins' assistant head coach-defense joked with reporters during a Rookie Camp media session at Redskins Park on Saturday.
Turning serious, Williams added: "I told you at the end of year one that I wasn't leaving and I told you at the end of year two that I wasn't going to leave. And I'm not leaving on the third year."
In his first media session of the 2006 offseason, Williams said that he is looking forward to working with associate head coach-offense Al Saunders and secondary-cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray, a long-time coaching colleague.
Williams signed a three-year contract extension with the Redskins on Jan. 3. He has helped guide the Redskins' defense to three finishes in the top 10 overall each of the last two years.
Considered one of the brightest defensive minds in the NFL, Williams has brought to the Redskins a brand of defense based on toughness and persistence, as well as a proven track record of shaping NFL defensive squads into among the league's best year after year.
Williams came to Washington after three years as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, where in 2003 his defense finished second in the NFL, improving from 15th in 2002 and 21st in 2001.
Williams said the reason he intends to stay in Washington is because of the coaches he works with at Redskins Park on a daily basis.
Both Saunders and Gray have accomplished coaching resumes. Among the returning defensive coaches are defensive coordinator-defensive line coach Greg Blache and linebackers coach Dale Lindsey. Along with Gray, Blache and Lindsey are former defensive coordinators in the NFL.
"I pinch myself with the quality of people I get a chance to be around," Williams said. "There's no other staff in the National Football League that has [three former defensive coordinators on staff]."
Williams also praised passing game coordinator-safeties coach Steve Jackson and defensive line-special teams coach Kirk Olivadotti, saying that he expects both will be NFL defensive coordinators at some point in their coaching careers.
"The brain-trust and the creativity in our staff room--it's outstanding," Williams said. "I don't have to go in and have to sell the game plan to a coaching staff as experienced as this. We don't waste time. They understand how we want to play. We're all on the same page from a philosophical standpoint.
Williams continued: "The hardest job in the world is hiring good people, drafting good people and signing good people. The second-hardest job is keeping them. That should be the story at the end of this year: how am I going to keep those good coaches? I'm not going anywhere."
Regarding working with Saunders and Gray, Williams said: "It has been fun to see the look on some of the other members of the staff to see Al Saunders and Jerry Gray coach. You'd think they are both playing. It is fun to see those guys out there."
Throughout the first two days of the Redskins' May 5-7 Rookie Camp, Saunders has opened eyes as he races around the field, encouraging players after a successful play.
"I really believe Al Saunders is going to effect these guys in a tremendous way," Williams said. "I can't wait to see the vets to see him in practice the way these rookies have seen him this weekend."