Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q. Do you look at this game as a must game, a crucial game? I know it's early, it's only Week Four, but are you in that spot?
A: I mean it's definitely still early, this is not a must game I would say. It's not something that's going to keep us out or keep us in the playoffs at the end of the year, but at the same time we try to look at the season like quarterly. So, the first four games is a quarter and we would obviously like to go into the next quarter at least even, going into the next quarter. So, if we start off the season 1-3 that's not ideal.
Q. Are you unhappy with the way your group overall has tackled, and do you feel you can do a much better job as a group in that regard?
A: I think we can do a much better job tackling like you said. I think we can do a better job in a lot of areas on defense, but overall, I think that we are on that right track. The way we played against San Fran and the way we've been continually growing is a good thing for the defense right now, I think we are on the right track.
Q. What does it mean to have a Monday night game in your own home building?
A: I think it means a lot. Our first home game didn't go so well for the fans. I think this is going to be a big one to get our fans back on track. I'm pretty sure we are wearing our throwback jerseys this game, not that that means anything, but I just hope there is a lot of excitement in the stadium this game.
Q. Do you think this team has found its identity?
A: That's a good question. I mean, honestly, we are still finding it. That's why I try to say every year is a new year, regardless of if you have a lot of the same players on the team, regardless of if you have a lot of the same coaches that are coming back. Each year is a new year and you've got to treat it that way. Right now, I think we are on the right track, like I said, but there are still some things that I think we have to bring together and close on who we are.
Q. To find that identity, how important is it for the leaders, yourself, a couple of other guys, the offense, the quarterback, to step up and really show the way for that?
A: I mean it's definitely on the leaders, for sure. Even outside of the coaches, the coaches are obviously leaders, but I think at the end of the day this a players game and we are the ones out there on the field, we are the ones setting the tempo in practice and all type of things like that. I think it's on us to shape the identity of the team and shape the way we go about things around here. A lot of times rookies coming in, they're not knowing what to expect, they are just following the guys in front of them and that's when it's on the leaders to show the whole team how it's done.
Q. Do you like Monday night games?
A: Yeah, for sure. Especially after a tough two games we've had, it's good to have a Monday night game to give us a longer week to prepare and recover. I'm still adjusting from the time change, honestly, which is weird. It must be an age thing, I don't know (laughs). But yeah, it's good.
Q. You still are not on eastern time yet?
A: I mean I think I am, but I'm just saying I've been tired from the trip pretty much.
Q. You guys like routine, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. Do you feel that a little bit? You don't know what day it is, you are off on Wednesday, you are not usually off on Wednesday, those kind of things?
A: Yeah, I mean I definitely felt a little bit the first few days, especially because we got back at like 9 a.m. after the San Fran game. But overall, I think the team has done a good job of making sure that we have adequate time to recover and get back on track.
Q. Are you eager for this opportunity to get back there in front of the home fans?
A: Yeah, I am eager. Like I said, it would be a great way to end the quarter, going 2-2 and a great way to close out the quarter and continuing to grow as a team and who we are.
Q. How concerning is it that you guys haven't had a turnover yet?
A: Honestly, I don't think turnovers are too concerning. I think just playing good defense, stopping the run, limiting passing yards and passer rating and stuff like that is more important to me. Turnovers (are) not the big case in my opinion.
Q. Rushing defense was a big emphasis the offseason here, that's why Nacho (defensive lineman Rakeem Nuñez-Roches) is here and (inside linebacker Bobby) Okereke, you guys have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards. Is that something that you guys are taking personal?
A: As a defense, it's hard to be good in all phases of defense when you are allowing them to run the ball. We always talk about trying to make them play one handed or something like that. What we mean by that is stopping the run. If you allow them to run, then you are allowing them to play their whole offense against you at any time, if you know what I mean. If you stop the run, it makes them have to pass the ball sometimes when they don't want to, and I think that's important for us. We'll have more sack opportunities that way, we'll have more takeaway opportunities that way and I think it all starts with stopping the run on defense.
Q. Obviously, part of that, those guys, the idea was bring in some of those guys and that will save some snaps for you and (defensive lineman) Dex(ter Lawrence II), so you don't have to play so much. At the same time, do you want to be out there more against the run?
A: I think Coach Dre (defensive line coach Andre Patterson) has been doing a great job of rotating us. I definitely feel way more ready to go when I'm out there on the field because we are getting a rotation, whereas sometimes last year we were out there for 15 play drives at times and we are just exhausted but still have to go. I think we are doing a great job of rotating and we also feel comfortable about the guys that we are rotating with. That when they are in there, they are going to do there job as well. I think like you said it just all comes down to stopping the run right now.
Q. Were you asked about (Seahawks quarterback) Geno (Smith)? What's it like to see what he's made of his career when you were with him, obviously he was facing a lot of adversity?
A: To me, it's awesome to see because when I first came in the league, he was the starting quarterback for the Jets, and it was a crazy eye opener for me to see – he got punched by a linebacker in the locker room and I was just like a rookie seeing this and was just like whoa. Since that moment, he kind of like got his opportunity taken away from him and he was trying to climb back and things like that. It's really cool to see him in a system that's working well for him, and he seems to be loving it over there and doing well.
Q. Players have a lot of respect for guys who make the most of a second chance, once you lose your starting job, you don't often six years later get another chance…
A: Especially at the quarterback position, it doesn't happen often. I feel like he just kept his head down, kept grinding and he's also in a system that works well for him. You can tell he just seems more comfortable and confident out there.