New defensive coordinator Alan Williams was made available to the media on Thursday, and he started by thanking the players that were cut this week for their hard work. Williams emphasized the difficulty of making those decisions and sharing that unfortunate news with players.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
“Yesterday is always a tough day,” Williams said. “As long as you’re in coaching, when you see guys work as hard as our guys have worked when you had a chance to get to know guys on a personal level as well as professional level, and then you have to give them the news that their dreams are deferred, that’s always a tough day when you’re a coach.”
Williams also thanked his coaching staff for their hard work in teaching and evaluating the players still with the team and otherwise during camp. Williams also thanked Matt Eberflus and the front office for doing “a phenomenal job of collaborating and finding the right fits” for this roster. Williams also discussed some of the new additions and some returning players to his group this week.
Williams discussed the addition of waiver claim Armon Watts from the Minnesota Vikings. Watts was a sixth-round pick of Minnesota in the 2019 NFL Draft. Watts has been described as “an efficient, downhill rusher with the power and hand usage to pry open opportunities for pressures and sacks.”
Watts logged 46 tackles, five sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles for the Vikings last season but a scheme change on defense under the new regime in Minnesota left Watts without a role with the Vikings.
When asked to describe what the team sees in Watts, Williams echoed the theme of the organization’s new philosophy on roster building, highlighting a player who has traits that they’re looking for.
“When I think of Armon, I think; big … long … fast … athlete … high motor. We’ll wait to see how and where we plug him in, but those are all good traits to start with.”
Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard made it known this morning that he wasn’t happy that linebacker Sterling Weatherford didn’t make it through waivers, and the Bears are excited to add another young player who fits their “HITS principles DNA,” according to Alan Williams.
Williams described Weatherford’s physical attributes in the same light that he described Armon Watts’, and said that they’re excited to have him in the fold this season as they look to become a faster and more physical defense that prides themselves on creating turnovers.
Luis touched on Weatherford a bit this morning, and you can check that out here:
When asked about the decision to keep Kindle Vildor on the roster and in a prominent role in the secondary to open the season despite doubts lingering from last season about his future in Chicago, Williams emphasized that one of the things he said when he took the job was that there was a “clean slate” when it came to incumbent players on the roster.
“From the day that we stepped on campus, Kindle has been working. He’s been working hard. He’s assimilated himself into the defense. We like what he brings to the defense. He’s fast, he’s sticky in coverage; we’re just looking to see what he can add to this defense this year.”
There were plenty of talks this offseason about Robert Quinn wanting a trade, but Quinn squashed that theory early in camp, and Alan Williams is as happy about that as the rest of us. Williams said he gave Quinn a big hug yesterday after practice and told him that he’s glad he is here. Williams called Quinn a veteran presence in his defensive group that will help the young players out this season, and complimented the silent leader on the respect he commands in the locker room.
“He’s got a leadership presence. He doesn’t talk a whole lot, but he just commands respect.”
As far as whether or not Quinn is ready to embrace the “rebuild,” Williams said that Quinn and himself aren’t looking at this through the lens that most outsiders are.
“I think he looks at it differently. I think we look at it differently,” Williams said. “We respectfully don’t see it that way; we just don’t. in his mind, and my mind also, he’s on a very good football team and a defense in which we intend to be great and won’t apologize for it.”
Turnovers on the Mind
At the peak of the Bears’ success under former head coach Matt Nagy, there was one constant that everyone could count on: the defense getting takeaways. Sure, many of the faces from the 2018 defense have departed the franchise, but that’s not stopping Alan Williams from being confident about the chances of us reliving those glory days this season.
Williams said that his defense will get takeaways, calling their approach on takeaways “fanatical” and saying that it’s something they work on in practice and team situations every single day. Williams said that practices are intense and turnover-focused, and he feels good about the Bears’ prospects of taking the football away this season.
Williams also noted that mindset and buy-in will play as big a role this season as any amount of talent on the roster.