DL Leonard Williams
October 30, 2020
Q: Just talk about the challenge that you guys face on Monday night from this team, from Tom Brady and all of the weapons that Tampa Bay has.
A: That’s exactly what I was about to say, their weapons. On offense, they have a lot of great skilled players on that side of the ball and a lot of weapons for Tom Brady to go to. Their running backs are really good as well. I think that’s our main emphasis, is stopping the run first. Then the leader of the offense is Tom Brady clearly, so we need to also be able to stop him once we stop the run, or affect him as much as possible.
Q: What was practice like yesterday when you’re lining up and you’ve got [TE] Eric Tomlinson and a bunch of guys who are not typical linemen or who don’t get a lot of time? And was it good to see the guys back today?
A: Yeah, it was good to see the guys back today. Yesterday was a little bit strange. But at the same time, I think the team and the coaches did a good job of making it work with the guys we did have. I think Eric did a great job of coming in when he was called on. I think he’s a great blocking tight end, so he actually filled the role pretty good. He was out there doing one on ones with us and everything. It was pretty funny to see him do all that.
Q: What’s the approach from you guys as a defensive line when you face a quarterback like Tom Brady?
A: Every time I’ve played against Tom Brady, even back in my early career against him, he’s known for getting the ball out really quickly. He’s also not a scrambling type of quarterback, he doesn’t want to roll out of the pocket and stuff like that. He can if you allow him, but he doesn’t want to run the ball. He wants to step up in the pocket, he wants a clear step up lane and he wants to get the ball out quickly. For a d-line, we want to get that middle presence, that middle push, and not allow him to step into his throws. Get him throwing off of his back foot and stuff like that. Just getting pressure in his face.
Q: Have you ever seen him rattled or seen the pressure get the best of him? Obviously, what you just said is the key to what the Giants did when they played him in the Super Bowl.
A: Yeah, I think anybody can get rattled. Any quarterback can get rattled if you’re affecting him enough. But he’s obviously been in this game long enough where he can get hit, he can get back up and keep playing. He’s obviously been doing it for a long time. But for our defense to be effective, that’s what we’re going to have to come in handy, is not allowing him to step up and hitting him as much as possible.
Q: I’m curious what you’ve seen from Tristan Wirfs, their right tackle. Does he look like a rookie when you watch the tape?
A: He looks like a really good lineman. Obviously, he’s really big and he’s strong but there are moments where he’s still a rookie. There’s a weakness in everybody’s game that you can find. We’re going to try to attack that as much as possible. But he’s definitely playing really well from what we’ve seen on film. He looks like he’s going to be a good player in this league for a long time.
Q: I know you were asked about Eric Tomlinson. I heard some of the defensive linemen had to go over there on scout team o-line. Who was that?
A: Yeah, it was a strange practice yesterday, for sure. But I think everybody stepped into the role and did their part in doing what they can to get the practice going and giving good looks and stuff like that to prepare for Monday. Everybody bought in and was willing to do whatever it took to get it going.