FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Finishing games was a problem for Leonard Williams and the Jets last season. Williams said it needs to change.
The Jets’ fourth-year defensive lineman acknowledged fatigue was an issue for him, and he has to do a better job of playing through it.
“I’m a tall guy, so sometimes near the third or fourth quarter when I start to get tired I start to stand up a little bit and stuff like that,” Williams said Thursday. “It’s the small details like that, staying low throughout the whole game and fighting through when you’re tired, always hustling to the ball, and just picking everybody up to do the same things.”
Williams’ production dipped last year, as he recorded just 47 tackles and two sacks. The previous season, he registered 68 tackles and seven sacks. Williams was double-teamed more last year, but he said he’s better prepared for it now. He also believes he’ll be able to better handle himself when he gets worn down from all the snaps he’s on the field.
“Just focusing on it and on film, that’s something I’ve been talking to my coaches about,” Williams said. “We mainly see it’s fatigue, when I stand up. I think it’s just a mental thing, honestly. When I get tired I can’t take plays off or I just have to think about it and the more I work on it the easier it’ll get. It’ll become second nature.”
The Jets went 5-11 last season, losing five games by seven points or fewer. They were outscored 139-67 in the fourth quarter. Only the Colts had a worse point differential.
Williams said coach Todd Bowles focused on that in OTAs and will throughout camp.
“Something coach Bowles has been harping on is situational football,” Williams said. “Knowing when it’s two-minute drill and knowing when it’s third-and-short and not to jump offsides and not to get penalties. I think it’s those little things that carry a long way and at the end of the day make a difference.”
Right guard Brian Winters, who ended the season on injured reserve the last two years, said last season was difficult for him. But he said he feels great heading into camp and notices a major difference “in attitude” around the team.
“As a team everyone is just excited to be here,” said Winters, who dealt with abdomen and ankle injuries throughout last season. “I can see the atmosphere has changed. The season is going to be great . . . We’ve got great attitudes in the locker room, and that vibe is a lot better than in the past.”
Cromartie a summer coaching intern
Former Jet Antonio Cromartie will serve as a coaching intern during training camp. He will work with the linebackers. Also serving as coaching interns will be Derrick Alexander, who will work with the receivers, and Randy Starks, who will focus on the defensive line.