FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — When the final stat sheet for the Jets’ defense was printed after last week’s loss at Cleveland, Leonard Williams stood out — because his name wasn’t on it.
The 6-5, 302-pound defensive end had no sacks, no quarterback hits, no tackles, no anything.
“I just simply didn’t get much action [my way],” Williams said Friday after practice for Sunday’s game at Jacksonville. “It’s not like I was getting blown off the ball and was just playing bad. I’m in my B gap and the ball runs the opposite way. Or in the pass-rushing situation, I’m getting double-teamed or the ball comes out quick.”
Williams has no sacks, two quarterback hits and eight total tackles in the 1-2 start. But the Jets say they are OK with the play of the sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft.
“So far, with what Leonard has done, we’re very pleased with the way he’s been going,” defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said.
Despite Williams’ lack of stats, the Jets had four sacks and 13 quarterback hits against Cleveland. Coach Todd Bowles said the Browns often double-teamed Williams.
“But Leonard caused a lot of other people to make plays and that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet,” Bowles said. “I’m happy with what he did.”
The team calls it “hidden production” when someone does something that leads to others making the play.
“We have, like, this fine system in our D-line room that we created ourselves,” Williams said. “We have our super-silly stuff if you get fined. But sometimes if you have, like, a hidden production or you make plays on the film, we’ll take money off of your plate from doing it.”
Of course, big money usually comes to players with unhidden production. Williams is heading for the option year of his rookie deal next season. He said he began attracting extra blocking attention last season. There’s no dominant edge rusher to divert that attention.
But Williams also said, “I can’t get frustrated or worry about the double-team too much because I know it’s freeing up some of my teammates.” He thinks his opportunities for significant stats still will come.
“Production matters, like in any type of job,” Williams said. “I clearly want the stats. But if I’m watching film and it just didn’t work out that way, I’m not going to beat myself up about it if I did what I’m supposed to do.”
Williams finished tied for third in the AFC with 25 quarterback hits in 2017, but he had only two sacks. He had a shared sack negated by a penalty two weeks ago against Miami.
“I know they come in bunches, so once I start getting them, they’re going to keep coming,” Williams said. “I’m really hungry to get after it.”
Notes & quotes: TE Neal Sterling (concussion) and WR Charone Peake (hamstring) are out. DBs Buster Skrine (knee), Marcus Maye (ankle/ foot) and Doug Middleton (knee/finger) are questionable.