Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q: Going back to (Head Coach Joe) Judge's postgame comments, what did you think of how strongly he indicated that guys, teams before under previous regimes might've checked out, but that this program is stronger at this point in the season when you guys are eliminated?
A: I think that's really important, building a culture and identity like that, especially in a year like this where guys are obviously disappointed in how things turned out. Everybody – the team, fans, all of New York is obviously upset about how the season played out. But things like that are something that we can see the light in, and I think it does make a big difference, especially in a losing season. It's easy to find the good things in a winning year, but it's like in a down year like this, you get to find what is working for you. I think what's working for the team is knowing that we have a lot of guys that are willing to fight all the way to the end, whether that's the end of the game, end of the half, end of the season or whatever it is. I think having a lot of guys like that creates a good culture around.
Q: If no one's tapping out, why aren't you guys tapping out?
A: I'm not sure, I think it's a combination of the type of guys that the people higher up are bringing into the building. I think Coach talks a lot about we have a lot of second-chance guys or things like that, where people have probably been on the streets or turned down by another team or second-chance guys he would call it. Having those type of guys around creates a certain identity and a certain culture and a certain fight – a blue collar type, everyone has a chip on their shoulder type of guy. I think those are the type of guys who don't have any quit in them. We're obviously disappointed about not getting those wins and as many wins as we needed to go to the playoffs or have a winning season, but just having that culture is a big deal.
Q: First of all, I wanted to congratulate you. I'm sure you heard that you were named our 2021 Good Guy Award winner, which we named after George Young and Ernie Accorsi, so*congratulations*on that. Thank you very much for the entire season of insightful and thoughtful answers that you gave to our many questions.
A: Thank you. I'm actually surprised about that one. I'm not going to lie (laughs).
Q: Oh, really? Nobody's told you? I thought (Safety) Julian (Love) told you on the way out there.
A: Oh, no, no. I found out about it today, but I was just surprised that out of everybody that I won the award because sometimes when I'm being brought in, I give (Director of Football Communications) Dion (Dargin) and some of the staff a hard time about talking to the media. I feel like the whole incident about talking about the fans and stuff like that, I just didn't think that I would be the Good Guy (laughs).
Q: Well, we don't let Dion vote, so that's why (laughs). I actually had a question, how long ago does the first Washington game feel to you guys? When you pop on the tape are you like, 'Oh, yeah, that's right. I remember back then. I remember that game'?
A: Yeah, that does feel really long ago, actually. Now that this week has come up, I was almost thinking the other day like, 'Wow, the season kind of flew by.' But then there are times where you think back at games like that, where you're like, 'Okay, it actually didn't fly by. That was like a really long time ago.' It's a whole different team compared to what we played the first time, whether that's different scheme, different guys, different weather, all types of stuff. It's all going to be a whole different ball game. It's interesting how long ago that was.
Q: Do you look back at that game and you say, 'Boy, things could've really been a lot different if we had figured out a way to win that game'?
A: Obviously, I think about that about a lot of games. There's always a play, there's always a score or something like that that you just wish you would've gotten back. A game or something like that you wish you would've got back. You just have to keep going forward and make sure you learn from those type of plays or situations or downs or games or whatever you want to call it and just try not to leave anything out there on the table.
Q: You mentioned about why this team is not quitting, tapping out and things like that. You've been here for a little bit of time now. In the past coaching regime at the end of the season like this, did you feel that? Did you sense it that you guys were kind of sliding down and this year you're not? Was it different a couple of years ago?
A: You're saying with the coaching staff that was here before?
A: It's kind of hard to compare it just because I got traded midway through the season and even though I had like eight games, which should've gave me enough time to kind of get a sense of what's going on around here, it was a lot going on for me during those eight weeks individually – being traded and focusing on myself individually like learning a new system and learning new teammates and all that type of stuff, that I didn't really get a grasp on everything else around me in my environment. So, it's kind of hard to talk about them both. I've definitely been on teams before in general or I've been around guys in general, especially older vets like sometimes tap out when things start to get hard. We pretty much know we're not going to the playoffs now and a lot of people would be like we're playing for nothing at this point, whereas guys are still breaking down the huddle today and after practice and saying, 'We've got one more opportunity.' That's what I love about this team is we see everything as an opportunity, and we want to take advantage of every opportunity we get.