Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q: How was your getaway for the bye week?
A: It was awesome. Me, (Defensive Lineman Dexter Lawrence II) Dex and (Defensive Lineman Austin Johnson) AJ went to Turks for a little bit. We just relaxed, got massages. I usually never do anything during the bye week, I try not to get out of football mode. That's what I thought. But having that time off actually was really helpful. When I got back, I was really excited to be back, and I felt refreshed and ready to finish this season strong.
Q: Did you catch any fish with your bare hands or anything?
A: No. We did go snorkeling a little bit, but I wasn't trying to go spearfishing because I was trying to take it easy on the body (laughs).
Q: You probably more than anybody else on this team has experience with the (Buccaneers Quarterback) Tom Brady challenge. What's that like trying to get to him as a defensive lineman? I imagine he can get the ball out pretty quickly.
A: Exactly like you said, he gets the ball out really fast. I've had a lot of frustration going against him most of my career. Even since I've been here, I've been playing him. Obviously, he's a great quarterback, a Hall of Famer guy. He gets the ball out so fast that as a D-lineman you get frustrated, but you've got to just stay mentally locked in it, just keep rushing, don't let it frustrate you. Then when you're not getting home just get your hands up. Also, if you're not getting sacks and stuff like that, getting pressure on him in the middle affects him as well, so even if he feels bodies in front of him and if he has to move his feet at all it kind of affects him at times. That's what we're working on.
Q: You must have thought you were getting away from him, no?
Q: You come here thinking you're getting away from Tom Brady, but three or two years in a row – were you here for that other one?
A: I mean, I kind of like playing against him though. I like playing against him. He's a great quarterback. I don't shy away from competition. I love playing against great teams. We've played against great offenses so far this year and it's another big offensive challenge for our defense this week. We're ready to step up to it.
Q: You mentioned getting pressure in his face up the middle. I know you weren't a huge football fan when you were younger, but you know that that's the Giants blueprint, right? You know that that originates with Justin Tuck and those guys, right?
A: Yeah, that was a big reason why I was so excited to come here and continue to stay here was the legacy of the D-linemen here. I'm proud to be a part of it, I'm proud to keep showing those guys, hoping those guys are proud of us. Like I said, getting pressure up the middle on this guy, even though he gets the ball out fast, he's one of those types of quarterbacks that wants to stand in the pocket, make sure he has his feet correct. He's one of those quarterbacks that really wants to be set on his feet when he's throwing the ball and if he feels bodies around his feet or any type of pressure it affects him.
Q: Speaking of legendary guys for a second, next week they're going to retire Michael Strahan's number. How much have you gotten to know him? What do you know about him? What do you remember if anything about him?
A: I know he had a 22.0 sack year, which is a record. I know he had number 92, because when I first got here, I wanted to get 92 and I couldn't get it (laughs) – I'm proud of 99 though. He's obviously a legend on and off the field, and I think that's what makes him such a guy is what he's done off the field, as well. This past offseason I was in Denver actually for a financial seminar thing where I'm trying to figure out what to do outside of football, what to do with your money and he was one of the speakers that was there – on his private jet FaceTiming us. It was a little bit of motivation for everybody, you know? Like, we want to be on a private jet FaceTiming one day (laughs), so what can we do after football? I think that's what people love about Michael Strahan, he's such a good people person. One of his biggest messages to us was just be yourself. Don't fake it. People are going to know if you're faking and just be yourself.
Q: Is he why you wore 92?
A: No, I got 92 when I got to the Jets because (Former NFL Defensive Tackle Damon Harrison) Snacks, Big Snacks, had 94 and he wanted me to pay a crazy amount for it and I didn't want to do that, so I took 92 (laughs).
Q: What would making the Pro Bowl mean to you? I know winning is the primary team objective, but personally what would it mean to you, because it seemed like you kind of got chopped out of it last year?
A: Obviously, winning like you said is our priority, but people still care about personal stats, personal achievements, and stuff like that. I was obviously upset that I didn't go last year, I hope it happens this year, but it's not going to hold me back from studying this week or anything I have to do to prepare to win.
Q: Do you sense teams playing you different this year? They saw what you did last year and you're playing a role here where the pass rush is almost built around you. Do you sense that when you play certain teams that they're putting more than one guy or shifting your way?
A: I mean, definitely at times. But I think we do a good job of moving us around, changing up the rush. I'm playing five technique, six technique, three technique, shade. I think we do a good enough job of switching it up and disguising stuff that it's hard for them to scheme against me all the time. Also, we have a lot of other guys that have been stepping up this year, as well. They can't fully focus on me when other guys are making plays, as well.
Q: You've played a lot of snaps for a defensive lineman. I think it's something like the third most or something like that.
A: Third most out of all D-linemen?
Q: I believe it's something like that.
A: Oh, yeah.
Q: Do you like being the guy that's out there as often as you are? Is that hard?
A: Yeah, I like it. Sometimes I like to be in a rhythm. Even if I'm tired, I feel like I want to keep going because it's like I'm getting a feel of the game. Sometimes when I'm getting out of the – if I'm on the sideline for too long I'm getting out of a rhythm a little bit. Some of the guys joke around about it because even in practice I'm like taking all the reps and Coach always calls me an amphibian – I don't know what that means (laughs). But I like being out there.
Q: You've had opportunities these last couple weeks where (Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) and (Linebacker) Quincy (Roche) have kind of gotten involved up front. I know you have your relationship with the D-line group, but what have you admired about the way that those two guys have come on lately?
A: I appreciate those guys a lot. They're young and they're hard workers and they're willing to learn. They're really easy to communicate with. Sometimes when I want to talk about a certain game, game plan rush or something like that, they're all ears and big eyes ready to listen. I appreciate that type of energy and mentality from young guys like that. They both have been really stepping up big time in the run and pass game.