DL Leonard Williams
September 16, 2020
Q: For your guys’ first game, how do you think the pass rush did over the full four quarters? I’m also wondering if it was difficult, frankly, keeping it up through four quarters? Coming off of that kind of training camp as well and a shortened offseason.
A: For it to be our first game after a weird season with this coronavirus going on, I think the team overall came out with a lot of good energy actually. I think throughout the game we were able to maintain a good energy and support each other and keep each other up and keep fighting throughout the game. I think we came out really fired up and starting the game off really well. I think there was a few times where we wish we could have got some plays back. I think nobody is in full game mode, week one, people are still ironing a lot of kinks and stuff right now. Overall, I think the defense did pretty well. There’s always room for improvement like I said.
Q: What did it feel like to get that first sack after all you’ve had to deal with about those sack numbers? Going back to last year and the pressure people put on you to produce sacks.
A: Getting a sack always feels good regardless of the circumstances. It’s one of the best plays as a D-linemen we want to get. At the same time, it’s only one week. It’s only the first week of the season, I’m not satisfied. I’m ready to keep working with the rest of my team, the rest of my defense and the rest of the guys I’m rushing with to keep getting home.
Q: From a defensive line rotation, you played the most of anybody. There were some snaps where there were no defensive linemen, some snaps nobody had a hand in the dirt. What did you think of the way the front four was deployed. It seemed like there were some creative looks.
A: I like it. Even the rotation was pretty good. We rotated really good, I think everybody was able to stay fresh. I feel like every time I was in, I was feeling really fresh. I think it also contributes to the way we worked in camp and how hard we worked and how much we focus on conditioning. I think it showed.
Q: It looked like you and Dexter Lawrence did a really nice job getting to the quarterback the other night. At one point it looked like it was a race to get there first. Just curious in terms of your relationship with Dexter, how that’s evolved since you have been here? The pairing of you two, what you think the potential is for you guys along that line?
A: Dex, I love that guy. Since day one when I came in - I think he reached out to me on Instagram actually and welcomed me to the team. We exchanged numbers and he was one of the first guys I was in contact with on the team. I think he welcomed me in with open arms. He’s a young guy, really talented big guy and he’s young. I feel like he’s open minded and soaking up the game. I think I love playing with a guy like that. I don’t want to play no favorites but he was one of my best friends on the team.
Q: How much easier does it make for you having a guy with that size and skill set playing on the same line next to you?
A: It helps a lot obviously. Sometimes the offensive line can’t scheme against one person when there’s multiple guys on the D-line. It’s not just me and it’s not just Dex, it’s all of us on the front. It’s hard to play against a defense when you can’t single out one person. If they slide to protect to one side then the other guy is open, if they slide protect to that guy then the other guys is open. I think it helps out the front a lot.
Q: What was the reaction in the film room to the tackle he made on that screen play when he lunged back down the field and pulled the guy down by his shirt?
A: I was on the field when that play happened so I saw it live and it looked crazy. After watching it on film I went up to him and I was like, ‘I know you got a sack and we all love sacks but that might have been your best play of the game’. I think it was just really a high football IQ play, and good reaction skills and good athleticism for him to break through the line like that. Find the back, track him down and pull him down with one hand, I think that was a great play from him.
Q: What’s the key to that play? Is it the read, is it the athleticism? What’s the most important part?
A: I think it’s a little bit of all of it. Him feeling that he broke through the O-line so quickly, and was able to break down, that takes some athleticism. Also realizing that you broke through the line and finding the back takes a high IQ from a D-linemen. Usually D-linemen want to get a sack, so you feel that breakthrough and you want to go toward the quarterback because you are like, ‘oh I broke through’. He was able to think during that play and that split second to realize it was screen play. He found the back immediately, tracked with his eyes and pulled him down. I think that was great play.
Q: You played more snaps than any other defensive linemen the other night. Does it give you confidence that the coaching staff feels good enough to put you out there that much? Do you like the idea of moving up and down the line the way you were the other night as well?
A: I’m a little confused on the first question. I’m definitely excited with the way we rotate and the way we move around. I think even when we’re in a base three down linemen me and Dex will flop sides sometimes. Because we want to try different sides and after we flop sides we’ll say if you’re on the right side and you’re feeling better than you are on the left side, let me know and I will let you work the right side more. We try to move around as much as possible and rotate as much as possible. Keep everybody fresh and able to keep rushing after the quarterback.
Q: You guys doing some of the moving around on your own?
A: A lot of it is obviously scheme. When I’m standing up outside. Like he said the question earlier there were no D-linemen with their hand in the dirt. Two down linemen, three down linemen, that’s all defensive scheme. Every once in a while, since me and Dexter play basically the same position but on opposite sides, sometimes we like to switch sides to feel out the offensive line.