Everyone is always infatuated by the newest and latest toy in the chest, but quite often it’s the toy that is already there that can make the greatest impact.
That’s what New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh is hoping for this season. While this offseason he added a few pieces from his past, it’s a player that was already on the roster that creates the most intrigue.
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Quinnen Williams Is Set For a ‘Monster Year’
Gil Brandt is a longtime NFL executive and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Recently he wrote a column for NFL.com where he ranked the top 10 candidates to “make a leap” in 2021.
Out of the nearly 3,000 players in the NFL, Brandt selected Jets’ defensive lineman Quinnen Williams as the No. 1 player on his list and a player he expects to have a “monster season”:
“It often takes players two full seasons to adjust to the NFL and show their true capability as pros, no matter how highly they’re drafted. After a slow rookie year, the No. 3 overall pick from 2019 began to emerge as a defensive factor in 2020, collecting seven sacks and 55 tackles. The arrival of new Jets coach Robert Saleh, whose defensive lines were always among the league’s best during his time as 49ers coordinator, signals Williams is headed for a monster Year 3. “
This is welcomed news for Jets fans who were feeling pretty concerned following a lackluster rookie season in 2019.
Now he could be on the precipice of a major breakout.
What Kind of Season Are We Talking About Here?
If you look back historically at Saleh-led defenses, there is a clear bar to set for Williams heading into his third campaign.
DeForest Buckner in 2018 had 12 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, and over 20 quarterback hits. Comparing that to recent Jets history, it would certainly qualify as a “monster season.”
If the former Alabama star reaches those metrics, it would top all of his previous career highs:
- 7 sacks
- 10 tackles for loss
- 14 quarterback hits
Williams having this kind of season wouldn’t just be nice and a cool story, it’s absolutely paramount to the success of the entire defense. The 23-year old needs to make a quantum leap from solid player to superstar if the Jets want to accomplish their hopes and dreams.
The good news is the pressure isn’t squarely on him. When he was a rookie he faced a ton of double teams which stunted his ability to make an impact on the game. Gang Green simply didn’t have enough of a supporting cast to spread the responsibility.
In 2021 that won’t be the case.
With so many other talented players on the line, offenses are going to be up all night trying to figure out a proper game plan.
The opposing offense is a boat in the middle of the open waters. The Jets’ array of pass rushers is the sharks that are circling nearby.
All of a sudden the boat has a few holes and water is flooding the ship. There are only so many fingers to plug the dikes, you can’t plug them all. This means the offense will be forced to make some important business decisions.
To bring this back to football, what are you going to do?
Double team Carl Lawson? Then what about Williams? If you double him up, then what about Sheldon Rankins or John Franklin-Myers? You get the point.
The former Crimson Tide star is self-motivated to help his team win, reach elite status among his peers, and most importantly secure the bag.
Following the 2021 season, Williams will be eligible for a long-term contract extension. With the Jets rolling in the dough, this is a pivotal campaign for Q to show he’s worthy of a large financial investment.
General manager Joe Douglas has been described as cheap and frugal, but if Williams makes the ascension that Brandt expects him to, Douglas will have no choice but to slide a blank check across the table sooner rather than later.
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