Williams has lost his limbs

I recently watched "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and have always found the scene when the Black Knight accosts King Arthur particularly engrossing. The knight won't let Arthur and his court cross a bridge, so Arthur fights him and cuts his arms and legs off, leaving him a tree stump. The knight, however, won't concede defeat, saying his injuries are merely "scratches" and "flesh wounds."

When Arthur walks toward the bridge, the knight yells, "We'll call it a draw."

"What are you gonna do, bleed on me?" Arthur asks.

The knight says he'll do much worse: "I'll bite your legs off."

Oh, like I'm really sure he could bite his legs off.

I bring that movie up because Bills coach Gregg Williams reminds me a lot of the Black Knight. He no longer has the limbs he had when he came to Buffalo. His offensive coordinator, Mike Sheppard, is gone. His defensive coordinator, Jerry Gray, has had his power usurped by Dick LeBeau. His offensive line coach, Ronnie Vinklarek – a friend of his – wasn't offered a new contract and neither was his linebackers coach, Miles Aldridge.

Williams' 46-hybrid defense, which earned him recognition in Tennessee, also looks on its way out. Of course, it was rarely used anyway because the team lacked the personnel the last two seasons. But it could be utilized now with the player upgrades, though I don't see any evidence of that.

Overall, there is almost nothing that Williams can call his own as Bills head coach, which would eventually frustrate any man as ambitious as him. He came to Buffalo proud of his remarkable, roughly 10-year ascension to the top of the NFL. He was aggressive. He made his own breaks. Yet if the Bills do well this year, it will be to Tom Donahoe's credit. If they do poorly, it will be Williams' fault.

That's not a situation a fiercely motivated individual desires. He craves appreciation and acknowledgment. If he's a salesman, he thirsts for one of those plaques that display his picture and say "Salesman of the month." Unfortunately, Williams won't get any of those things as long as Donahoe oversees the operation, which makes me wonder whether Williams might be as reserved about a contract extension as management appears to be.

There are good things about the coach. Players like him. He's upbeat. He's got a booming voice on the practice field. He communicates the image of a head coach very well.

He could be craftier on game day though, more readily implementing strategies that weren't in the game plan. Williams didn't have an answer for Bill Belichick's wacky schemes last year, and New England hammered Buffalo twice. Williams is good at setting up the week of preparation for a game, but he's not so good at quick, in-game problem solving. Those skills are just as valuable as preparation.

If Williams and the Bills part after the season, his three years in Buffalo would certainly make him a worthy head coaching candidate somewhere else. We already know he's good at interviewing, so I'm sure getting another job wouldn't be much of a problem.

One thing is definite: Donahoe isn't ceding any power. When he came to Buffalo, he even said that he wouldn't put any coach "on a pedestal." I imagine he learned that in Pittsburgh. It's not publicly known what really went on between him and Steelers coach Bill Cowher, but in the end, it was Donahoe who departed his dream job in his hometown, not Cowher.

Donahoe is probably not eager to repeat that again.

Williams, on the other hand, probably wouldn't mind getting his arms and legs back.

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