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Transcript: Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams

Eric from BBI : Admin : 6/14/2023 2:49 pm
Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams

June 14, 2023

Q. Leo got a win last year in the Playoffs. How much does that motivate you getting that feeling in Playoff football, to get back to that this year?

LEO WILLIAMS: I mean, it motivates me a lot. Last year shows me we have everything it takes right here in the building to go even further. We made it there. We added some more additions to our team. Just got closer, built more and more camaraderie.

Like you said, that was my first time going through the Playoffs. We got a win in the Playoffs. I'm getting closer towards the end of my career. That the something that really motivates me, is getting the ring.

Q. How do you feel about the new additions on the defensive line?

LEO WILLIAMS: I feel great about it. Me and Dex (Dexter Lawrence II) a lot of times had to take a lot of snaps. I think this year we're going to have a great rotation with those guys we just added, A'Shawn and (Rakeem) Nunez(-Roches). We trust those guys. I don't care think going to be any type of drop off when the rotation starts happening.

Q. When you look your side of the ball, run defense, what was lacking or not lacking now?

LEO WILLIAMS: It's hard to say what is not lacking now just because we haven't been in pads yet. I think we have been working a lot on fits so far, which is the one thing we can work on when we're not in pads. I think that's just a matter of what it was last year, honestly, is just making sure that we're trusting the guy next to us, make sure we're staying in the gap that we're responsible for, trusting that the guy in front of us, next to us, behind us, is going to fit his gap as well.

Q. Is it possible slightly fewer snaps for you and Dexter will help you be better?

LEO WILLIAMS: I mean, that's been the history of football. D-linemen are usually not taking 100% or 90% of snaps. It's better to have a rotation and keep guys fresh. It's going to be fun that way when we're rotating guys, just beating up on offensive lines together. It's going to be fun.

Q. What do you think the addition of Bobby (Okereke) does?

LEO WILLIAMS: Like I said, we haven't been in pads yet, so it's hard to see.

Q. What do you think, knowing him as a player?

LEO WILLIAMS: Knowing him as a player, he has a lot of good leadership. He's very vocal. He seems confident in himself, trusts himself. I think that alone is a good presence on the defense, especially at linebacker. They have to be the quarterback of the defense. He's doing a really good job at being vocal, speaking up. He just really looks locked in and ready to go.

Q. How is your neck?

LEO WILLIAMS: It's good. I think during the season it was just hard for it to recover just because every time I made a tackle, I would feel it. It wasn't really going to go away till the season ended. I've had a few months off now since football. I've been back in the weight room. I haven't been feeling it at all. Now that I'm getting older, that is something I have to pay more attention to, though, is my recovery and my body.

Q. You didn't need anything like a surgery?

LEO WILLIAMS: No, I didn't need surgery. I rested it, strengthened it, did a lot of shrugs and neck exercises to try to strengthen around it. Most of all in the beginning it just needed rest. The constant banging on it was not letting it go away.

Q. Any kind of extra padding needed Bryan Cox style?

LEO WILLIAMS: Probably not Bryan Cox style (smiling).

Q. Anything like that?

LEO WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually near the end of the season, I started wearing a small type of roll. It was hard for me to get used to. I had to change it up a little bit in practice. Sometimes I would get in my stance, try to look up, it was restricting my vision. I finally found that sweet spot of something that would protect me when I make a hit and something I could also see in my stance. I think I'm going to keep using that, so it doesn't happen again.

Q. You know the league. Is it scary maybe more so than other injuries?

LEO WILLIAMS: It is a little scary. I think last year was also my first year ever missing a game. I think that was hard on me. It was hard to, like, sit on the sideline, see my team going at it when I wasn't able to help out. It was hard that like when I was trying to help, was going, it was still happening. But that's part of the game. That's what we all sign up for. We know it's possibly going to happen at some point. Luckily it happened later in my career than sooner. Luckily, I also feel good right now, and I haven't been feeling it since I've been able to strengthen it and let it rest.

Q. What is Nacho's personality like in the room like?

LEO WILLIAMS: I've known him for a while now. We went to the combine together. Two old heads. I've actually known him for a while. He has a great personality. Outgoing guy. He fits in our room perfectly, in the defense perfectly. You can tell he has some experience under his belt. There's a lot of times where not only is he helping out with the younger guys, but we also established that type of room where we hold each other accountable as vets as well. Even though he is new to the team, he still sees stuff that he can help out on and will be vocal about it.

Q. He really takes pride in stopping the run. Does the D-line need at least one guy that loves that part of the job?

LEO WILLIAMS: I mean, hey, that's something that Coach Dre and D-linemen talk about: you have to earn the right to rush the passer. Being a d-lineman, stopping the run comes first. You're not going to be able to pass-rush until you do that. Having a guy like him that's going to be able to do that is good.

Q. We know how close you are to Dex. When did you learn about his contract? What was your reaction?

LEO WILLIAMS: I forgot how exactly I saw it. I think I saw it online or something. He was obviously busy. Like he probably had to fly in, sign it, all that stuff. I remember that process. Probably got blew up a bunch. I didn't want to bother him at the moment. When I finally found out, I was so excited, so happy for that guy. It was so deserving. I'm glad to see he's able to continue his career here.

Q. Taking you do dinner?

LEO WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, for a while, I was like big brother to him. I was, like, taking care of the tabs, inviting him over to my house and stuff like that. Since the contract, I'm like, when are you going invite me over, stuff like that? It's pretty funny.

Q. Two or three times you said I'm old, it's late in life. You're 28.

LEO WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah.

Q. I mean, are you feeling older? Are you considering retirement?

LEO WILLIAMS: I'm definitely not feeling older. We have this chart with our GPS trackers that shows our high-end speed, short 10-yard sprints. I pride myself always being first on that list. You know what I mean? I still have my explosiveness; I still have my power. Honestly, I feel like I'm knowing the game more, I have a lot more years in me. I joke around about the age because this is a young team.

Q. On discussions about your future?

LEO WILLIAMS: There hasn't been many talks about it this off-season. I'm obviously open to staying here. I think I have a good camaraderie with my teammates. I would love to keep playing with Dex. I would love to keep playing with these coaches that I've gotten to know. I'm also not one of those type of players that wants to bounce around team to team. I want to be able to be here. Been through the grind and the struggle of being with the Giants since I've been here, coming out on the good end, eventually getting a ring with them.

Q. With this coaching staff, is there more comfort, more fun that you have because you actually know these guys?

LEO WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I think that actually makes a huge difference. I think that's something about the league that I had to get used to when I first came out of college, is the constant changing of the coaches and the new building. You have to reestablish yourself almost every time that happens. Now that we have this coaching staff, I feel like we've created an identity last year. Now we're coming in and just, like, knowing what it is. We know what type of coaches we have; we know what type of environment it is, we know what type of camaraderie we have. It just makes it smoother going through all of this this year.

Q. Dex talked yesterday about how y'all can know what each other means without saying something. When did that first start? Can you give me an example of that?

LEO WILLIAMS: Honestly, just happened today, which is pretty funny. It's funny he said that. Dex is like the first guy that hit me up when I got traded here. He reached out to Instagram, sent me his number, told me he was excited to have me on the team. When I finally met him, he told me he watched my tape when he was in high school. Made me feel old (smiling). Ever since then, I came to the building, he was the first guy that gave me that type of energy. Since then, we've been really close. Seriously there will be times in a game where, like, if I feel the center is jumping hard on me or the guard is setting deep, I can kind of look at him and we'll know to run like a pick stunt, something like that. I can seriously look at him, he will nod his head, we'll know exactly what to do. I think having that type of chemistry goes a long way in the trenches.

Q. What happened today?

LEO WILLIAMS: There was something we noticed about a player on the field. We talked about it early on. It happened again and I just looked at him. He came to me and was like, yeah. He started talking about it. It was a small detail but that builds the chemistry.
Would love to find  
Southern Man : 6/14/2023 10:28 pm : link
a mutually beneficial way to keep him after this season.
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