Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q: Why was it so important for you with the triceps injury to get on the field and play today?
A: I think I just take a lot of pride in being a durable player and being out there with my teammates knowing that they can count on me to be there. I haven't missed a game my whole career. I think I missed one game in college and it was because my coach purposefully forced me to take that game off because I was playing through a shoulder tear I had in college and he wanted to rest me right before the Stanford game. I think I just wanted to finish this year strong with my guys.
Q: How much did it bother you, the injury?
A: I think in the beginning. The warming up process, I felt it in the beginning and then I think once the game started it went away a little bit. I had an elbow brace on that helped me out a lot. Near the second half, I was feeling it a little bit and they started rotating a lot more, putting me in more situational downs so that I could rest it when I could. I finished the game and I'm most likely to play for the rest of the year.
Q: You guys in the last two years, all your wins are when the opponent scored 21 points or less. If you guys give up 21 points, pretty much you guys lose. How much pressure does that put on the defense?
A: I think our defense, we know that we're a defensive team. We know that we have to dominate on defense to win games. We trust our offensive guys to do what they have to do, but we take a lot of pride and a lot of emphasis on getting the ball away, getting three-and-outs, shortening the field for our offense and being dominant on defense. I just don't think we did enough today. We didn't get enough takeaways. No scores on defense or anything like that.
Q: How close were you to not playing? It seemed like the prognosis was pretty dire earlier in the week.
A: I think right after the game, I was really questioning it. The day after the game, it was really tender. I wasn't sure exactly what it was, but the MRI came back and it was okay. I kind of just relaxed it and treated it all week. We knew that it was going to be a game time decision, so yesterday right before meetings and stuff I went out and tested it with my new custom elbow brace and it felt a lot better. I felt like I was willing to test it out during the game and it felt okay.
Q: I think a lot of people would you say if you guys were making a playoff push here, of course, he wants to be out there on the field helping his team. What made you want to come out here for a 4-9, now 4-10, team?
A: I agree, I think a lot of players would probably sit out if they had the same thing. Peoples' agents are probably telling them to sit out, coaches are probably not going to question you if you sit out. But I'm doing this more for myself than anything, more for my teammates, as well. I think me and my defensive line have a really tight group and I don't want to leave them hanging out there. I'm really doing it for them and for myself, as well.
Q: Did your agent tell you to sit it out?
A: No, he didn't tell me to sit it out, but he was obviously telling me to be smart, trust my body, trust how I'm feeling and all that type of stuff.
Q: I'm wondering what you think of the idea – because you just talked the way you did about coming back and playing from injury and then there's (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) dealing with a neck injury. What would you think of the idea that it might be better to shut him down? I wonder if you would feel different if you had an injury like that.
A: I think with injuries, it's hard to compare situations because the injuries are different, you know? Something like me dealing with elbow pain and the injury is something I can possibly play through, whereas if I had something, anything spinal or neck, that's something that's going to affect your life long-term if you keep messing with that. It's more than just football, you've got to think about your life at that point. I think it's just hard to compare.
Q: For you guys as players – I know you're on the other side of the ball, but do you almost expect Daniel to be out for the rest of the season considering what he's dealing with?
A: I honestly haven't thought too much about it until now, but I don't know his situation fully and how he's feeling or how the doctors are evaluating it. Like I said, if I knew I had something wrong with my spine or anything neck or back issues, that's a lot more serious and I would definitely take my time coming back with something like that.