DL Leonard Williams
October 8, 2020
Q: It was reported earlier in the summer that you underwent a different type of workout. You gained strength, I think you’ve slimmed down a little bit. I was wondering, can you talk a little bit about the effect that’s had on your game?
A: I basically went into the offseason training to prepare for either playing defensive tackle or defensive end. I feel like I have been moving around a lot, especially more these last two years, along the defensive line. I wanted to make sure I was in shape to play defensive end because it’s a lot different than playing D-tackle. You have a lot more space, a lot more area to cover. I think it’s a little bit more running than when you’re playing inside. I have to be a little bit heavier to take on D-tackle and stuff like that on the inside. I didn’t really change up too much. I just wanted to work on shaving some body fat and putting on more muscle.
Q: Do you find you have more stamina? You have always been in good shape, but do you find you have more stamina late in the game?
A: Yeah, definitely. Also the way we practice here and how much running we do, conditioning. I feel like sometimes we’re in the third quarter and I still feel fresh. We’re like, ‘whoa, we’re in the third quarter already?’ I’m still feeling like its fresh. I think that’s a good thing.
Q: When we spoke to you last year, you said that the Cowboys were the toughest offensive line you faced. When you look at them on film, is that still the case? Do they still pose a big challenge there?
A: They definitely still have some good guys up front. I think there has been a little bit of moving parts this year and this game. I feel like they have been switching offensive tackle, I think they have a new center now because their center retired. They’re left guard is still pretty young. They’re definitely a little bit different, but they still have some great guys like Tyron Smith up front. Zack Martin is pretty good, too.
Q: There was a report that just came out in the last five minutes that Smith may need may be shut down for the year because of the neck injury. If they can’t go with him, that probably further weakens their front, right?
A: Yeah, probably. He is the one that’s been there the longest. He’s clearly a seasoned vet, he’s a solidified great, All Pro left tackle. I think there’s something we all noticed on film that he’s been dealing with an injury and you can kind of see it on film. We were looking to get after that.
Q: You mentioned their offensive line, the guy that was coaching them, Marc Colombo, is obviously your offensive line coach now. Have you picked his brain at all about their strengths and weaknesses and how to use them to your advantage?
A: Yeah, I can’t go into specifics about what he told us. I think all of us, including the D-line coach, have been talking to Colombo a lot about trying to gain an advantage any possible way.
Q: You can’t tell me exactly what he told you. You can tell the exact game plan though.
A: Yeah, I can’t tell you the exact game plan or what he’s telling us, what we should focus on or attack. Colombo has obviously worked with these guys and knows them pretty well on a personal standpoint. It’s been good to be able to use a guy like Colombo to pick his brain and try and gain an advantage.
Q: When you see their stats, they have 500 yards of offense, 400 yards of passing offense. Is that because they’re that explosive or is that kind of because of the way they have been playing in games? They have been down so big, so you kind of write some of those numbers off.
A: I think they’re definitely an explosive offense. Dak Prescott is a really good quarterback. Ezekiel Elliott is one of the top running backs in the league. They also have some great guys at the skill position and the receiving corps, and a pretty good, established offensive line as well. Like I said, there’s some moving parts to their o-line right now, but overall, I think they have a lot of great skill players on offense. They definitely move the ball around a lot.
Q: Last week, it seemed like other than the 55-yard pass to Kupp, you guys pretty did what you wanted to do. Was that a feeling that the defense is all on the same page now or what?
A: I think we have been putting a lot of emphasis on getting off the field on third down. That’s been our Achilles heel on defense. I think we have been playing really well against the run. We have been good on first and second downs. We just needed to work on some small things. I think we were able to play a full game from start to finish this past game. It clearly wasn’t enough, we didn’t walk away with the win. I think playing against a high scoring team like the Rams and holding them to 17 that late in the game was pretty good by the defense.
Q: I know you have been in the league long enough now, but for you personally, have you played any better than what you’ve played individually the first four weeks of the season?
A: I think I have been playing good. I don’t think that I have been playing at a crazy higher level than I have been in the past. I think I’ve still been playing the same way I have been playing in the run since I have been in the league. I think now in these first few games, I’ve just been able to make that sack count instead of those quarterback hits. I feel like my game hasn’t changed too much. I know I get lot of noise in the media. I’m always around the quarterback since I have been in the league. I think finally every once in a while, that one second goes in your favor instead of the opposite favor.
Q: I know you worked on the idea of building strength in the upper body and the stuff you worked with Richard Seymour about. Have you seen that translate to the field? Is there any tangible difference that you can notice?
A: I think the biggest difference is just being more confident in myself. Don’t take time to get to a move. Don’t reach too much to what I’m given, instead of reacting, just more attack. That’s just going into the confidence, like I said. There will be times when I throw a move and it will work, but I’ll see myself on film where it took me two seconds to get to that move and dissect what’s going on before I get to the move. Whereas now, I’m trying to where if it doesn’t work on the first time, just keep on throwing it but hurry up and get to a move.
Q: Is that something you got from Seymour. Is that from coach Graham or coach Spence?
A: That’s something I have been talking a lot with coach Graham and coach Spence. Then also Richard Seymour, he’s like a mentor to me. I talk to him a lot. I think he just helped me work on my mindset. That’s where the confidence part comes in. Know who you are and be confident, go out there with a mean mindset.