Leonard Williams would rather focus on who’s here than who’s not.
The Jets’ third-year defensive end insisted Wednesday that he’s “trusting the process,” and that includes the rebuilding plan being carried out by general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles.
“We have a [relatively] new GM, a new head coach and they want their specific guys here,” Williams said on a conference call. “There were a lot of guys here before they got here that they didn’t necessarily draft or you didn’t know if they wanted them here or not.
“I think I’m just kind of moving on from it,” added Williams, who also disclosed he’s aiming for “at least 10-plus” sacks this year and a first-team Pro Bowl selection after being an alternate in 2016. “That was this offseason and now we’re back and we have all new guys, so I’m trying to focus on the guys that we have here.”
Right guard Brian Winters expressed similar sentiments when asked about the team’s offseason acquisitions and the purge of high-priced veterans Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, Nick Mangold, Breno Giacomini and Nick Folk. “Obviously, we’re always trying to get younger and faster during the offseason,” said Winters, who signed a four-year extension in January. “Obviously, they made some changes, some are for the better, some are a little more difficult than others to make. Obviously, I think everything is for the better. We’re trying to improve ourselves and get better depth.”
Mangold’s release, however, was especially tough for Winters.
“Since I came into the NFL, Mangold was kind of the guy I leaned on and talked with,” the 2013 third-round pick said. “He kind of took me under his wing, and obviously when the change was made it was hard for me to see my guy who has changed the game as a center and has been super successful at it as a Jet. It was tough at first, but I understand the business side of things and when I do talk to him we really don’t talk about it. We just talk about life.”