DL Leonard Williams -- October 30, 2019
Q: What are your emotions like and whatís this opportunity like for you?
A: Iím just looking at it as an opportunity, like you said. Itís a fresh start, new locker room, new teammates, new coaches, everything like that. Itís a chance to show everybody over here what Iíve got and just prove to my new teammates what I have.
Q: What was day one like for you?
A: Day one was good. I feel like the d-line and the team brought me in with welcoming arms, everyone introduced themselves, I introduced myself as well. Itís a pretty open locker room, everybody is pretty nice and cool with each other. Practice was pretty good. We donít play until Monday, so it was a little lighter tempo today.
Q: Could that get you on the field, the more time since Dallas since you have an extra practice?
A: Yeah, definitely. I think itís going to give me a little bit more chance to look over my playbook, know my teammates a little better. Itís good to come into a new locker room with a little bit of extra days to prepare and get to know my new defense and my new teammates.
Q: How similar is this defense to what youíve seen when you played with Todd Bowles and the Jets, and how much easier does that make this transition?
A: Itís actually pretty similar. Even some of the terminology and verbiage is pretty similar, so I think it should be a little bit easier to pick it up, a little bit easier of a transition since Iíve actually played in the defense for a little bit. I still have some of the younger guys on the d-line still helping me out with some of the calls when I donít know them. Like I said, theyíve been doing a good job of inviting me in and showing me the way.
Q: What were your thoughts like with the Giants trading for you, knowing your situation at the end of the year and that they still wanted you in here?
A: Itís definitely something Iím going to have to think about near the end of the season, but Iím trying to take it day by day right now since Iím new, this is my first time in this color, it still feels a little weird (laughter). Iím trying to embrace it. Itís been an easy transition since Iím right down the street still. Iím definitely not trying to think about contract stuff yet. Iím more trying to focus on getting to know my teammates, getting to know the locker room, and showing who I am to this new team.
Q: Have they expressed to you though, during the trade, that they want you here beyond this year?
A: There hasnít been any talk yet, but Iím assuming something is going to be talked about soon, or near the end of the season. They knew that this was my contract year, everyone pretty much knows it. But at the same time, I still have stuff to prove to this team as well.
Q: I know itís a week away, but itís pretty ironic that youíre going to be facing the Jets in two weeks.
A: Yeah, I know. Especially since the Jets and Giants donít play each other, usually. Itís pretty funny that weíre playing them next week after the Cowboys. Iím definitely not going to take anything personal or anything like that. Iím going to play how I would play a normal game.
Q: What were your emotions with the trade deadline and the way it went down, leaving the Jets and coming here?
A: Yeah, it was still an emotional day. It was a long day, a lot going on through my mind. But at the same time, Iím privileged and grateful for the Giants for giving me the chance to come play here. Itís been an easier transition since Iím close by, like I said. Itís not like I had to pack a bag and get on a flight and go somewhere and have to worry about whoís going to watch my dogs, whoís going to do this and whoís going to do that. I basically just came right down the street to my neighbors. I still have a lot to prove, like I said, to this team and to my new teammates.
Q: What do you want to prove to your new teammates and to the new fan base?
A: Just that Iím a good team player. Iím a good player on the field, Iím a good guy off the field. Iím just someone who is going to give it my all in the classroom, on the field, as a leader, as a teammate and everything like that.
Q: Can you talk about your versatility bringing a pass rush to this team?
A: My versatility, thatís actually something the coaches talked about that they were excited about having me here. Theyíve seen me play nose, theyíve seen me play 3 technique, theyíve seen me play defensive end, stand-up, all around the d-line. They seemed pretty excited about that. Like I said, Iím still going to have to get comfortable with this new defense, even though itís similar to what Iíve played in before. As soon as that starts to happen, Iíll get in my groove and get going.
Q: Did you know that a trade was going to take place, or did it totally catch you off guard yesterday?
A: It wasnít totally off guard, everyoneís heard the rumors and talks about trading and the deadline coming up and stuff like that, so it definitely prepared myself mentally for it. I tried to take the emotions completely out of the situation, whether it was staying or going, and understand that it is a business and just be prepared for whatever the case may be.
Q: But thereís no way in the world that you could have predicted that it was going to be here, considering the fact that you are the first trade ever between these two teams.
A: Right, I definitely didnít think it would be to the Giants. My agent actually called me like the day before it happened and told me that the Giants were expressing interest and that was my first time hearing about it before coming over here. Like I said, if I had to get traded, this has been one of the easiest transitions, because like I said, I donít have to move, I donít have to hire movers to move out my whole house and hire dog sitters and all that extra stuff.
Q: What are your thoughts on maybe facing fewer double teams here with having guys that can pull those away from you, and maybe your hopes if that might be the case?
A: Not even just double teams, but just the excitement of being with all these young, talented D-linemen is pretty exciting. Iíve watched them on film and Iíve gone over some of the defense with the D-line coach and got to watch some of these guys, and they bring a lot to the table. Theyíre big and strong in the run game, and they also can get after it in the pass rushing game. And then theyíre a young, talented group, so this is my first time being one of the older guys in the group, and itís pretty exciting.
Q: When we look at your stats, for maybe the Giants fans that arenít as familiar, you have a lot of pressures and didnít get sacks. So, how do you explain that and how do you get home so that you finish off the pressures?
A: Sometimes itís just little things that people donít see. Like when we played Tom Brady and them, he gets the ball out really fast, as everyone knows, and then there was one time I got to him and he got rid of the ball and it was intentional grounding, so that couldíve been a sack. Then, the same thing with the Jaguars last week, I had a sack and it got taken away because of defensive holding. So, itís just like, I donít want to make excuses or call out penalties or anything like that, but I am getting the pressure, I am getting there, itís just a matter of when it clicks, itís going to click.
Q: What do you want to show here the rest of this year and the rest of your career because, letís be real, the team that drafted you decided that they didnít want to pay you and keep you long-term, so what do you want to show them and the rest of the league about what type of player you are?
A: Like you said, I got drafted there and they didnít keep me, they didnít want to keep me, but this team definitely showed interest and wanted to go out of their way to get me over here, so I think it speaks volumes on this team wanting me here, and I have to prove to them why they should want me here. I think Iím just going to keep my head in the playbook, weíve got a long week ahead of us since we donít play until Monday, and just lock in and hone in on my new teammates, my new playbook and everything like that, and prove to these guys that they made the right choice.
Q: Do you feel like this is an eight-game audition for you, for this team to extend your contract?
A: Yeah, definitely. I think this whole year has been an audition. Itís my contract year and now Iím going through a transition in the middle of that contract year, but Iím going to try to lock in and do whatever I can to be the best I can on the field.
Q: The fact that youíve faced the Cowboys already this year not too long ago, could that help that part of the transition of getting ready for Monday, that youíre familiar with the guys that youíre breaking down on film?
A: Yeah, exactly. Because Iíve already studied them long enough and played them before, it gives me a little bit of chance to more focus in on the Giants and what we have and what I have to learn with this new defense, opposed to since I have to balance out studying a new team and a new playbook and all that stuff, it helps that Iíve been able to play them already.
Q: Are you open to signing a deal before the end of the season if that was something that came up, or are you intent on actually getting to free agency?
A: I definitely would be open to it if it comes up, whether itís with the Giants or whoever. I definitely just have to keep playing though. Like he said, itís an audition still and I have to go out there and prove it on the field.