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New Packers Assistant Coach Got Start at YMCA

Greg Williams, who is replacing Jerry Gray as defensive passing game coordinator, has taken a unique path to the Packers.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur reportedly has hired Greg Williams to replace the esteemed Jerry Gray as defensive passing game coordinator.

Williams spent the past four years as the Arizona Cardinals’ cornerbacks coach. According to Josina Anderson, he will fill the role held by Gray, who recently became the Atlanta Falcons’ assistant head coach/defense.

With Ryan Downard presumably sticking with his role as safeties coach, Williams will be taking over a talented group of cornerbacks.

Jaire Alexander earned second-team All-Pro in 2022 for the second time in three seasons, Rasul Douglas has nine interceptions in two seasons with the team and Eric Stokes had a standout rookie season in 2021 before regressing in 2022. Getting Stokes back on track, and getting the secondary to play as a harmonious group, will be the priorities.

For Williams, it’s the next step in a unique journey.

At the University of North Carolina, Williams played receiver in 1994 and 1995 before switching to safety for his final two seasons.

Williams went undrafted in 1998 and spent training camps with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants. With the Amsterdam Admirals in 1999, he earned all-NFL Europe honors with a league-leading six interceptions. He played for the Admirals in 1999 and 2000, the San Francisco Demons of the XFL in 2001 and five years in the Arena Football League.

His path to coaching started in unexpected fashion.

“I was actually living in Arizona,” Williams told while a member of Indianapolis’ coaching staff in 2016. “I was playing Arena Football at the time. I was bored. I came out of the mall. There was a thing on my car for the YMCA. They were looking for kids to sign up for youth basketball. Then it said they wanted coaches, as well.

“I was like, ‘I’ve got nothing to do.’ I went over there and coached a 9-, 10- and 11-year old basketball team at the ‘Y’ in Tempe, Arizona. After I did that, I said, ‘I found what I wanted to do.’ I still have the plaque of the team picture at home.”

His first “real” opportunity as a coach came as an intern at Arizona State in 2003. In 2009, he was named assistant linebackers coach for the San Diego Chargers. He held that role for four seasons before switching to assistant secondary coach for the Chargers for the next three seasons.

Williams was defensive backs coach for the Colts in 2016 and 2017 and for the Denver Broncos in 2018 before spending the last four seasons with the Cardinals.

“Respectful,” is how he described his coaching style. “The one thing I try to stay straight lined with is, I just try to be respectful with everything I do, whether it’s criticizing, whether it’s giving praise. Whatever I do, I just try to be respectful with everybody.”

With the Cardinals, his time overlapped with that of Douglas, who spent a month on their practice squad before the Packers snagged him in October 2021.

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