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20.09.2018

Jets D-line leader reveals first step to fixing his sack issue.

Leonard Williams may feel like an old man this spring. Yes, he’s only 23, but Williams is the last defensive lineman standing from the ballyhooed group he joined in 2015. Damon Harrison left two years ago for the Giants. Sheldon Richardson was traded away last year. Then, Muhammad Wilkerson was cut this offseason. “I don’t...
Time: 17:50     Date: 16.04.2018
Last US Sport News: Jets D-line leader reveals first step to fixing his sack issue. NY Post 24 - US News

Damon Harrison left two years ago for the Giants. Sheldon Richardson was traded away last year. Then, Muhammad Wilkerson was cut this offseason.

“I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” Williams said on a conference call Monday. “It’s pretty crazy to think about how fast the time has gone by, just getting here as a rookie and having Snacks and Sheldon and Mo here, and being the one guy left out of all those guys. What’s been helpful is even though the time went by fast and I was really young, I got to learn from a lot of great guys like those guys. I got to take away certain stuff from each one of those guys that I want to apply to my own game.”

As the Jets opened offseason workouts Monday, Williams said his goal is to become an elite defensive lineman this season, his fourth in the NFL.

“I think it’s definitely time to step up and take it to the next level,” Williams said. “It comes with a lot. It’s not just my play on the field. It’s also my leadership, how I approach work, how much time I’m putting in outside of the mandatory hours into my craft, into my game.”

Leonard WilliamsBill Kostroun

Williams played well against the run last year and had his moments as a pass rusher, but the sack numbers were not there. He finished with just two sacks, though he had 25 quarterback hits, the third most in the AFC. A wrist injury hampered Williams early in the season. He felt he was close to breaking through, something he plans on making happen in 2018.

“I feel like I’ve been right there,” Williams said. “The years that I don’t have a lot of sacks, I still have a lot of quarterback hits. That’s my goal, that’s always been my goal, is to not have it close anymore and to make those hits into sacks. It’s just getting that one step closer. I’ve always been right there. I’m pretty sure it’s close and everyone can see that. There’s no pressure. It’s just working to get better.”

Williams said he has spoken with assistant defensive line coach La’Roi Glover about improving his first step.

“We think that first step is the big key,” Williams said. “The faster I can get that first step off of the ground and into the backfield, I’m that much closer to the sack. It’s just small details like that.”

With Wilkerson gone, Williams will be the focal point for offenses up front. It will be up to him to cause disruption in the interior of the line for the Jets defense to be more successful.

“I don’t think it applies more pressure,” Williams said. “I think the pressure has always been a factor, being a first-rounder, coming in and playing with a lot of good guys already. I think just playing this game in general, there’s always going to be that pressure. That’s just something we learn to deal with and something you get used to and comfortable with. I’m comfortable under pressure.”

A pair or restricted free agents, safety Rontez Miles and tight end Neal Sterling, signed their tenders on Monday.

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