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Jets’ Leonard Williams learning how to tackle critics

Jets defensive end Leonard Williams reacts after sacking Bills

Jets defensive end Leonard Williams reacts after sacking Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor during a game at MetLife Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jets defensive end Leonard Williams had to remind himself to block out the noise concerning his inability to get sacks.

Williams ended a 11-game sackless string with a half-sack in last week’s victory over the Bills. Williams is one of the more talented defensive linemen on the Jets and the fact he’s near the bottom in the sack category on the team is alarming.

However, the Jets recorded a season-high seven sacks in the win over the Bills, including two from outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who was named AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week. Williams was part of a strong defensive game as he had five tackles and two quarterback hits.

“Even though I wasn’t too frustrated or listening to it, it still affects me a little bit,” Williams said after Thursday’s practice. “Even listening to it every once in a while. I’m still young [23], I’m still learning and sometimes I read into it and I have to remind myself or get reminded from a teammate or a coach not to listen to that stuff. Zone it out and that’s part of being younger and still learning the league and everything like that. It’s getting better.”

Fellow defensive end Kony Ealy has a simple message for Williams when it comes to the criticism: Ignore it.

“We are getting sacks,” said Ealy, a four-year veteran. “I don’t think nothing about blocking out noise. I just go out there and do my job. We’re just looking to get team wins and everything else will follow.”

For the majority of the season, Williams was asked why he wasn’t getting sacks.

He wouldn’t use a bone bruise on his left wrist as an excuse, but it was clear he wasn’t finishing his rushes by knocking down the quarterback. Williams is having a good season overall; it’s just the sacks are missing.

“It wasn’t too tough or too frustrating,” Williams said of criticism. “Since I’ve been a part of the Jets there’s been a lot of outside noise. There’s always going to be outside talk no matter what and no matter what team I’m on. We learn to focus out that type of stuff.”

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