Leonard Williams is finding his pass-rushing rhythm, and the Jets defensive lineman believes improved health has played a major role in his increased production.
Williams was battling a bruised left wrist for most of the first half of the season, an injury he first suffered during a preseason game. He was forced to wear a cast on his arm and didn’t record a sack until the Jets’ ninth game of the year.
But now Williams says the wrist is “not an issue anymore.” He ditched the cast several games ago, and that’s coincided with his best stretch of the season. Williams still only has 1.5 sacks on the year, but he’s tied for sixth in the league with 17 quarterback hits. Eleven of those 17 QB hits have come in the Jets’ past four games, including four two weekends ago at the Bucs.
“I’m feeling really good physically,” Williams said Monday on a conference call. “The beginning of the season, I don’t want to use as an excuse, but I can see on film that my wrist was definitely affecting me. I was playing with a cast, and I see that I wasn’t really shooting my hand as effectively as I could have. These last few games before the bye, on film it just looks completely different. I’ve been able to shed people. I’ve been able to use my hand, get off of blocks and just be more effective.”
Williams also notched his first full sack of 2017 in that loss in Tampa.
“He’s getting healthy and getting back to himself,” Todd Bowles said. “He’s been disruptive.”
MCCOWN THE MAN
A week ago, Bowles said he was “not coming up with a scenario right now” in which quarterbacks Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg would see the field this season, outside of an injury to 38-year-old starter Josh McCown.
On Monday, McCown responded to his coach’s vote of confidence.
“It’s good, I guess,” McCown said. “We’re both kind of on the same page with that, and there wasn’t a scenario where I saw it either, so I think it’s good to hear it.”
The Jets are preparing to face Cam Newton and the Panthers this weekend at MetLife Stadium. Linebacker Jordan Jenkins recalled facing the Carolina quarterback in college, when Jenkins played for Georgia and Newton played for Auburn.
“He was like a defensive end playing quarterback. That’s just the type of guy he is. He’s not afraid to take a hit or lower his shoulder,” Jenkins said. “Whenever you tackle this guy, unless you gang tackle him, he’s going to fall forward for another two or three yards. We just got to try and gang tackle him and eliminate that.”
Last week, Jets safety Terrence Brooks provided Thanksgiving meals for individuals at The Apostles House, a homeless shelter for single mothers and their children in Newark.
Brooks was raised by a single mother in central Florida.
“I came from a community that was not that great, so we came up through some hard times,” Brooks told Sports Illustrated at the event. “I was able to have a few role models growing up but for the most part there were no people of this stature there for me, so this is only right for me to do.”
Send a Letter to the Editor