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Jets DL Quinnen Williams Eager to See Sheldon Rankins, C.J. Stroud & Texans

Q's Sack Numbers Are Down but Pressures, Tackles At/Behind LOS Indicate He's Still 'Playing at an Elite Level'


It's a happy time for Quinnen Williams and not just because the holidays are rapidly approaching. So are the Houston Texans, on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, and several players of interest for the Jets' outstanding defensive lineman are coming to town.

One is Sheldon Rankins, who, before leaving as an unrestricted free agent for the Texans in March, was a two-year fixture on the Jets DL alongside "Q".

"I'm looking forward to seeing my dog, Sheldon," Williams said after Wednesday's practice. "That's one of my guys. I learned so much stuff from him on the field and off the field. He's a good guy, a passionate guy and an amazing football player."

Rankins helped polish many of the skills Williams used to build his powerful All-Pro/Pro Bowl/Team MVP season in 2022, but Quinnen won't be busting any moves on Sheldon. That will come when Houston's offense takes the field, and Williams had more praise for the player leading that unit, rookie QB C.J. Stroud.

"He's a phenomenal quarterback, a young guy doing tremendous things," he said. "You see him making the bigtime throws down the field. He's got extremely good accuracy. You can see the competitive aspect on film that he has, the way he fights for his team, plays for his team. It's super dope to watch."

Williams will be among the Jets trying to rattle Stroud into getting sacked and turning the ball over. That won't be easy, but with the rush led this season by Jermaine Johnson and Bryce Huff as well as John Franklin-Myers, Quinton Jefferson and Williams, perhaps Stroud pressure can be part of a winning Jets strategy.

Some worry that Williams' production in key statistics has been down so soon after last year's coming-out party. It is certainly true that his nine sacks after 12 games en route to his career-best 12 for the season was well ahead of this year's two sacks.

Williams, though, has never worried about his sack total alone, saying, "I'm not really focused on it, man. I'm just focused on getting better every single day, doing the necessary things I can to help this defense win."

Yet other metrics confirm his and his coaches' feelings that while double-team attention from opposing OCs has cut back on his sacks and hits, his QB pressures, as measured by Next Gen Stats, have risen to 46 this season compared to last season's 40 through 12 games.

Another important number that we measure unofficially is tackles for loss/no gain, which include rushes and receptions and excludes sacks. Quinnen's brother, LB Quincy Williams, has been the team leader in TFLNG, but this season Quinnen has matched Quincy's team-leading total of 12.5 tackles through these first dozen games, already a career season high. A half-tackle for loss came on his tandem takedown along with Ashtyn Davis of RB Bijan Robinson for the early safety against the Falcons.

All of which supports defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich's recent scouting report on Quinnen Williams.

"Is he getting sacks? No, but he is winning, he is affecting quarterbacks," Ulbrich said. "He's got an exceptional pressure rate — the best of his career at this point. And I know it's not always illustrated by sacks, but he is still playing at an elite level. ... What you see on tape is a guy that's just absolutely a game-wrecker, in the run game for sure, as a pass rusher, just from the winning-percentage standpoint.

"And on top of all that, he's an exceptional teammate and human being, a guy that's absolutely in it for his teammates, his team, this organization, above himself. We're just lucky to have him."

Williams also seems to be one heck of a congenial host, as Rankins, Stroud and the Texans should discover Sunday afternoon.

See the Jets on the practice field during Wednesday's practice to kick off Texans week.

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