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Quinnen Williams continues to anchor Jets stellar defense

Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (left) and linebacker Quincy Williams walk off the field after the Jets beat the Packers in Week 6.
Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (left) and linebacker Quincy Williams walk off the field after the Jets beat the Packers in Week 6.
AP Photo/Mike Roemer

Much of the attention around the Jets has been paid to standout rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner, but defensive tackle Quinnen Williams has been the lifeblood of the team’s better-than-expected defense this season. 

At a 6–3 record heading into the bye week, Gang Green has been buoyed by their defensive prowess, as the squad has solidified themselves among the elite groups in the NFL. 

At the center of that effort, Quinnen Williams continues to dominate. 

The third overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, who has spent his entire professional career with the Jets, has recorded seven sacks on the season, while adding 33 tackles (including six for a loss of yardage), as well as 17 quarterback hits. 

He also has a forced fumble and a blocked field goal on special teams. 

Williams won the NFL’s AFC Defensive Player of the Month in October for his outstanding play over five games. 

With the Jets having one of the best seasons in the past decade, and finding themselves just a half-game out of first place in the AFC East, Williams knows the team needs to keep up the pace if they want to continue being a factor in the NFL. 

The standout defender told his teammates that they should use the rest week as a “rest period for your body, and not your mind,” while continuing to keep up the winning attitude that head coach Robert Saleh has instilled in the roster.

“We have a lot of games left and it can go south real quick if you have that mindset of, ‘I’m on top of the world, I’m this, I’m that,’” Williams said.

“That was the biggest message from me to the young guys. Learn what you can do better from this first half and do it different, learn what you did good from this first half and make sure you can do it even better when you come back. Never stay stagnant and never go down.” 

Last week, the Jets defense went up against the most potent offense they’ve seen all year, when they hosted the Josh Allen-led Buffalo Bills, but held the MVP candidate to just 18 completions on 34 attempts for 205 yards and no passing touchdowns. 

They also recorded two interceptions in that game. 

Williams, for his part, has broken into the conversation among betting odds makers for the Defensive Player of the Year award. 

“If he keeps doing this, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be Pro Bowl, all-pro, all the different accolades you can get. He’s playing at that type of level,” head coach Robert Saleh said earlier this season. 

Despite being all that the Jets could reasonably hope for, they’ll still be looking for him to step it up even more in the coming weeks, as fellow defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins suffered an elbow injury, and will miss 4–6 weeks. 

That will add even more pressure on Williams to hold down the fort in the trenches for Gang Green. 

Still, he showed his confidence about his unit going forward. 

“As a defensive line, we’re trying to chase perfection. And the closer we get to perfection, the better we’re going to be,” he said. “Just learning how to get better and take those next steps week in and week out.”

For more coverage of Quinnen Williams and the Jets, head to amNY.com.

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