Jets All-Pro DL Quinnen Williams sat out Thursday's preseason opener against the Browns, but he'll get his first crack at an opponent next week when the Green & White visit the Panthers for a pair of joint practices (Aug. 9 & Aug. 10 at Wofford College).
"Just ready to compete," Williams said. "Go against another team, a great team. A team with a great quarterback, a new quarterback coming, my Alabama guy. Going against a great offensive line and just competing each and every day and learning."
Williams' "Alabama guy" is No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young. On the first day of Panthers training camp, HC Frank Reich declared Young the team's starter. The 2021 Heisman winner threw for 79 touchdowns and 12 interceptions over his last two seasons for 'Bama. Williams is looking forward to battling a fellow Crimson Tide product.
"I have a relationship with Bryce," Williams said. "It is a pretty cool relationship because he is super cool and a pretty cool guy."
Robert Saleh has not stated his plans in terms of who will and won't play Saturday night at Bank of America Stadium in the Jets' second preseason game, but Williams is excited to test the defense in practice.
"It gives you a chance to see where you are at as a player," he said. "See where you are at as a defense. See where you are at when it comes to competing, making mental errors and competing."
Williams said the goal this season is for the Jets to have the top-ranked defense after a historic jump from the 2021 to 2022 seasons. The unit went from last in scoring and total defense to fourth in both categories. Williams contributed career bests in sacks (12), pressures (31), QB hits (28) and tackles for loss (12) as he was named to his first Pro Bowl and the 2022 Curtis Martin Team MVP.
Throughout training camp, Williams says QB Aaron Rodgers has been getting the Green & White's defense for the challenges ahead.
"It has been phenomenal man," Williams said. "He will tell you right after the play what you need to work on or what he is seeing. And as an offense, he will tell me 'Hey Q, your pad level was too high. You need to get your pad level down.'
"Him bringing that aspect to the team, he is making the offensive and defensive lines better in general. We are both telling each other what we did wrong, and it has helped us whole each other accountable and get better."
The Jets 1JD camera crew captured Rodgers and Williams chatting recently about what they saw during a play in practice.
"It has been phenomenal that we have a great group of guys that hold each other accountable and can take constructive criticism," Williams said. "Because it comes down to trying to make each other better and be that 1% better."
See top photos of the Green & White back on the field at 1 Jets Drive during an open practice on Saturday.