FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Leonard Williams has to step up his game -- in the weight room.
After his first NFL regular-season game, the Jets rookie admitted that he needs to improve his conditioning.
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"I don't feel like I played to my best ability, to be honest," the sixth overall pick said of his performance (five tackles, one solo) in Sunday's 31-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. "They had a few long drives, and I just noticed I was getting pretty tired on those drives. I was coming out of my stance slow, kind of raising up and not staying low. It was just from being tired."
Unlike at USC, Williams noted that he now must take it upon himself to remain in peak physical condition. The rookie, who played 49 of 71 defensive snaps in the game, also thinks the muscle strain he suffered behind his right knee during the preseason win over the Giants on Aug. 30 could be a factor.
Coach Todd Bowles thinks Williams got winded because he was "too high" emotionally. "You come out and you've got spit on the side of your mouth, and you're slobbering, and you're in warm-up in pregame, it's typical to happen to a rookie the first game out. They want to do well, and they come out hyperventilating," he said.
"Not saying he did all that, but you could see he's an inner-outer type of guy, as far as showing his emotions . . . From a physical standpoint, I just think he needs to calm down going into the game."
Now that backup offensive lineman Oday Aboushi has served his one-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the Jets must place him on the active 53-man roster by Tuesday or release him . . . Marcus Williams, Brandon Marshall, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Folk and Chris Ivory received game balls, according to Bowles.