DL Leonard Williams
May 19, 2022
Q. Did you give Thibodeaux any advice on what to expect coming in here?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: Not so much advice yet. I've been kind of like more like paying attention to him, seeing what type of guy he is. I'm liking what I'm seeing so far. It's like small things where we have a few guys on defense giving the ones like -- or giving whoever like a show look, and if they need like an offensive lineman or something like that, he's one of the first ones to run in there and give a look.
I appreciate things like that from top picks because he knows that there's still more that he has to give to the team. Just because he got drafted high doesn't mean that he can't help out.
Q. He's a pretty big personality.
LEONARD WILLIAMS: Honestly, I thought he was going to be more than he actually is just because from what you see on TV and from his draft dance, stuff like that. I was like, this guy is definitely a character. But meeting him in person, he's a humble guy and he's ready to work, and like I said, he's one of the first people to go in there when we need a look and things like that. I'm definitely impressed with those things.
Q. How are you impressed by his play?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: I mean, it's just been a few practices so far, but you can still see guys' attributes, and in the three practices we've had so far he's shown great speed, great pass rush IQ, and stuff like that.
Q. You have not always had that going for you, having guys on the edge who can apply so much pressure. With Kayvon and Azeez, if that can manifest itself, how does that help the defense and how does it help you?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: I think it will help the defense a lot. Whenever you have top guys in any position it's going to help out a lot. I definitely have a lot of confidence in him and Azeez.
And like you said, it's going to be great for me inside and playing with guys like that that are going to make the quarterback step up, and if I'm playing in the middle and they're doing their job, I'm going to make them roll out to them and vice versa. We feed off of each other.
Q. Did you lose weight?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: No, 310.
Q. You said Thibodeaux, you were impressed with his pass rush IQ. Could you elaborate on that?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: He knows when to try to speed around a corner; he knows when to try to beat a guy inside; he knows -- so far what I've seen, he seems to have a good understanding of like reading the offensive lineman’s set and stuff like that.
Q. High football character IQ, is that what you see?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: Yeah, that's what I'm saying, good character. Some people from the media or from TV might think that he's a big personality, and he is. He's definitely a confident guy, in a good way, though. He's confident, not too cocky or anything like that, and he knows he's a rookie. He knows when it's time for him to like do his duties as a rookie and stuff like that. He's a good kid.
Q. Has he been asking a lot of questions in the film room?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: Not so much yet. We're not really in the same room, so I think we would have to go out of our way to meet up and talk about things because we're not really in the same room.
My room just got loaded with a bunch of young guys and new guys, so I'm kind of giving them a lot of my attention right now. But I definitely want to chop it up with him and see where he's at.
Q. I know it's only three OTA practices; are you seeing anything different from the offensive line with Bobby Johnson running the show?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: I mean, the whole team feels different as a whole, so I don't really think I've put too much emphasis on the offensive line. But overall Drew (Andrew Thomas) is not back full yet, so I feel like there's still a lot of moving pieces, so it's hard for me to say what it's looking like right now knowing that it's going to be different come camp or a season.
But I know so far it's been a really good competition level on both sides of the ball. We've been doing a good job of taking care of each other. But the O-line and D-line have been competing pretty well.
Q. What is the vibe that the new regime gives out?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: The vibe I'm getting is the excitement people are coming into work with. I think guys are happy to be here. They're happy about the teammates that they have next to them. They're happy about the coaches that are coaching them. I think when you're happy about all those things that I just said, it makes it easier to come into work and have a great attitude and great energy, and it shows in practice how we're flying around out there.
And even today when we had that small little competition period, like you hear all the defense like getting loud and stuff like that, and it's just a contagious energy that's being brought right now.
Q. Obviously you guys had a lot of turnover in the secondary. You're going to be putting some young guys back there. Wink is blitz heavy, man to man. How much of an onus do you feel as pass rushers to get there or get home and to not leave those guys, those young guys, sitting back there?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: Right. I definitely have confidence in whoever we end up bringing in and playing corner back there. Like you said, this is an aggressive defense. You know, we have so many blitz and pressure patterns that we're definitely -- not that we're not relying on them, too, but in that type of defense, no matter who you have, you're relying on getting home no matter what type of players you have on the team.
It's just the style of defense, you know.
Q. Was it eye opening at all to you that as well as the defense played, as well as James Bradberry and Logan Ryan played that as far as the business aspect that they're not here anymore, was that eye opening to you? Even guys that play well aren't secure?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: It's not eye opening for me because I'm going into year eight, but it's definitely eye opening for a lot of the guys in the locker room.
You know, even Wednesday, yesterday, we had a bunch of new people come in and people leave and people are like, wow, week one it's already happening.
I'm like, I don't know if I'm just like getting numb to it or, I don't know what it is. I'm just so used to seeing it and knowing that this is a business. You know what I mean? You see it all around the league, too. You see top guys being traded and top guys moving around.
LT and some of the older guys came and talked to us the other day and they just said it's different from how it used to be. Back in the day people would stay on the team they got drafted to for their whole career.
Now you see people bouncing around. It's like basketball nowadays.
Q. What if anything about Wink has surprised you?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: I don't think like his play calling has surprised me, just because as I found out we had Wink, everybody said, oh, wow, we love it. Aggressive, aggressive. That's what you hear about him and that's what we been seeing.
Q. What about his personality?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: I think personality he's impressed me, and –
Q. What's he like?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: He's obviously like an older white guy so I thought he probably wasn't going to -- but I didn't know how to see it, his humor or personality, but he's one of the funniest guys in the defense.
He throws out little comments and disses around and stuff like that and I think he has a great humor and kind of like sheds on the defense, and we kind of all like have a more family environment because he's like that.
Q. Every defensive coordinator says they're going to be aggressive. Is this different schematically? Do you notice a difference?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. Like you said, a lot of people claim to be aggressive but they'll blitz on occasions or like when the timing is right.
Whereas I think with Wink, he's like make them deal with us; we're going to bring it. I love that type of mentality. Like the way I'm seeing it, he's making the offense react to us instead of the opposite way around.
Q. Is this by far the most aggressive defense you have played in? Does it remind you of any previous ones?
LEONARD WILLIAMS: This probably is one of the most aggressive defenses for sure, just because already in OTAs we've been showing a lot of blitz patterns and pressures, and also what I like about it is we talk about learning the defense as a concept, because even though it's like showing the D-linemen on paper doing this, at any moment that could be an outside linebacker, a linebacker, or I could be outside. It's just we to learn the whole defense because it could be the same pattern but different guys moving around running the same pattern.
I think that makes it even more aggressive and harder for offenses to read.