The New York Jets had a lighter non-padded practice on August 10 ahead of their first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday night.
According to The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt, Zach Wilson went 13-for-16 and attempted to get the ball out faster than usual. The reason for that much-needed change has been the ferocity of the Jets’ defensive line this summer, and the best of the bunch has reportedly been defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.
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Quinnen Williams Leads Dominant D-Line
The Jets were expecting the offensive line to be a strength this season but with George Fant recovering and Mekhi Becton out, the D-line has been feasting at training camp.
Most of that pressure has come off the edge for obvious reasons — the offensive tackle position has been exposed by injuries and lack of depth — but that makes Williams’ performance all the more impressive. While Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers have been beating players like Conor McDermott and Chuma Edoga, the former first-round DT has been turning heads against Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern and Alijah Vera-Tucker.
That’s no walk in the park.
By my count (tracking tweets and reports from the NYJ beat), Williams has the second-most camp sacks on the Jets behind Lawson since players began wearing pads. The latter has six while the Alabama product has five.
Most recently, Williams added two sacks on August 9. After he got to Wilson a second time, ESPN’s Rich Cimini noted that the key 24-year-old is “having an excellent camp.”
Team reporter Eric Allen then took that statement one step further, voicing: “Quinnen Williams looks outstanding. Nobody has had a better camp.”
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Teammates See Greatness in Williams
It’s not just the media that’s taken notice of the defensive tackle, his teammates have praised his current form as well. Fellow interior lineman Sheldon Rankins even expressed that this is “as good as I’ve seen him play since he’s been in the league.”
“This is as good as he’s looked consistently,” Rankins continued. “Down-in, down-out, explosion, pass-rush moves, setting the edge in the run game, playing with effort — he’s doing everything he needs to do to be the caliber player that everyone in the league knows he is.”
Another veteran that has seen Williams’ potential is Tomlinson, except he’s seen it first-hand while going up against the promising talent. The first episode of “One Jets Drive” highlighted the Pro Bowl guard going out of his way to work with his counterpart after practice.
“Going to be the best O-line [and] D-line in the freaking country,” Tomlinson stated boldly after two extra one-on-one reps against Williams. “We hear to make each other better,” the guard then told the D-tackle later in the segment.
Williams responded that the linemen “gotta be like gladiators.” A friendly reminder of the overused training camp expression — iron sharpens iron. The Jets will hope that their pass rushers start to rub off on the crew of offensive tackles, as Tomlinson has begun to rub off on Williams.
It’s a huge year for the No. 3 overall pick of the 2019 draft. According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, “the defensive tackle is slated to play for $4.9 million this season but is eligible for a contract extension.”
The youngster isn’t worried about financials, however. “The contract is not really a big thing on my mind right now,” Williams told reporters on July 26. “That’s not really a big thing in my family or in my head right now. I definitely feel like it’s going to pan itself out, it’s going to work itself out when it comes down to time to have a new contract or negotiate a new contract.”
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