New York Giants‘ defensive lineman and “franchise player”, Leonard Williams, arrived at training camp with a surprise hamstring injury that popped up on his initial entry physical, in return landing him on the Non-Football Injury list.
12 days later, Williams has been removed from the NFI list and activated prior to Big Blue’s Friday practice. According to NorthJersey.com’s Art Stapleton, Williams participated in New York’s practice as the Giants moved to their 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 portions of camp.
With Williams’ injury in the rearview mirror, the former sixth-overall draft pick has set his eyes on elevating his game and living up to his lofty draft status.
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Williams: ‘I’m Playing With a Chip on My Shoulder’
The 26-year-old Williams is far from a scrub, no matter how much some fans and media personalities may want you to believe. In fact, if you turn on the tape, the ex-USC standout often pops off the screen.
Unfortunately, his inability to pad the stat sheet, namely with sacks, has left much to be desired from a top-10 draft pick. This is especially true when four of the other five pass rushers selected in the first round of Williams’ 2016 draft class all have at least one double-digit sack campaign under their belt since entering the pros.
Williams is well aware of his budding number of doubters after amassing a mere 0.5 sack over his eight-game run with the Giants in 2019.
“I think the coaches know and my teammates know what I bring to the table or I wouldn’t be here,” Leonard said to reporters this week. “I definitely still feel like I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder at the same time, though. I’m ready to just go out here and play the best that I can.”
Coach Chaos Sings Williams’ Praises
Giants’ new defensive line coach Sean Spencer, aka Coach Chaos, is hoping he can be the man to finally help Williams fully tap into his all-world potential. While Spencer’s time working alongside Williams has been limited to this point, he’s seen enough to believe Williams “wants to be great” and is willing to put in the work to get there.
“I think in the offseason in zoom and things like that because it’s a different situation, I was able to develop quite the relationship with Leonard. I think he knows I have his best interests in mind,” Spencer said. “He wants to have success. No one goes out on the field saying I was this high draft pick, I haven’t reached my potential. He wants to be great. He is detailed in the meetings, he asks great questions. He’s into football. I’m here to help him take his next step, whatever that is. He’s a talented guy and I’m excited to work with him.”
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