AFC East

Is Leonard Williams Ready to Take the Next Step for the New York Jets?

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets runs onto the field with team mates prior to the game against Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on October 4, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

The New York Jets have a constant situation of tension with franchise tagged Muhammad Wilkerson and this has caused headaches for the team and its fans. Outside of this situation, the Jets still have a young and on the rise talent in second year defensive end Leonard Williams.

Williams is ready to take the next step as he as expressed he is raising the bar for his own expectations for the upcoming 2016 season. “I got to the quarterback a lot last year, but they were just hits, those aren’t the stats I’m looking for,” Williams said. “I want to get sacks. Those little seconds matter, getting to the quarterback.

Williams has put in tremendous work this offseason on the field and in the weight room and stressed how he will be more comfortable heading into his second NFL season. “So I’ve been doing a lot of work during the offseason on my pass rushing and stuff like that, and I just feel more comfortable being a pro, playing in the NFL now with that year under my belt. So I’m just looking forward to my second year,” Williams said.

Williams learned a lot in his first NFL season, especially what will work and not work with his pass rushing skills. “One thing that I’ve been working on is just getting off the ball and working on the edge,” Williams said. “I got away in college with just going down the middle of a guy a lot of times cause I out-physicaled them and I tried to do that last year and I realized you can’t do that in this league.”

Williams only ended with three sacks last season, but his impact was greater than just numbers for the Jets defense. Of defensive tackles in the league, Williams had the third most snaps and the Jets’ defense performed at a higher level when he was on the field. The Jets defense allowed 4.8 yards per play when Williams was on the field and 5.9 yards when he was not.

The Jets defensive line is still one of the strongest units on its roster. The team added nose tackle Steve McClendon and defense end Jarvis Jenkins to go along with this already talented group. The Jets have a situation to figure out with Muhammad Wilkerson, but fans should continue to stay excited for the potential development of Leonard Williams for the upcoming season and beyond.

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