Losing 26 games in the first three NFL seasons could have discouraged Quinnen Williams. Instead, it motivates the veteran defensive tackle into making sure the results are different in 2022.
"[Losing] motivates me a lot," Williams said. "It hasn't affected me not too much, but it motivates me a lot because I see how hard the coaches work, I see how hard we work and how close we are to having that winning season."
Before joining the Green & White, losing was foreign to Williams. While playing two seasons for Alabama, the Crimson Tide went 27-2 and reached the National Championship game twice, winning in 2017 and losing in 2018. But since being selected third overall in 2019 by the Jets, Williams' teams have won half as much as they've lost.
"Everybody plays this game to win," Williams said. "Nobody plays the game to lose."
To reverse those trends, Williams has taken what he learned during the down years and become a leader for a talented D-Line that also features John Franklin-Myers, who tied Williams for the team lead last season with six sacks, Carl Lawson, who is returning after a ruptured Achilles, and free agent signee Solomon Thomas.
"First and foremost, I want to be a leader," Williams said. "Do things I can do on the field and off the field to help guys and help the team in general.
"There are expectations for this team and expectations for this defense in general. We have to go out there and execute the plays that are being called and execute your job that is being called for."
A Pro Bowl alternate in 2021, Williams is a talented pass rusher who has developed into a premier run-stopper. Among the 54 NFL defensive linemen with 500+ snaps as an interior defender last season, Williams ranked fifth in stop percentage and seventh in stuff percentage.
"You can know when to take your shots," Williams said. "You can go in-depth on different things like, I know what a linebacker is going to do. Now I can study different positions that I could not study last year because I was trying to learn my position."
Hungry for a reversal of fortunes, Williams believes the Jets have a group to turn around a defense that ranked last in opponent's points per game last season.
"And I feel like this year we got everything we need to be the team that we want to be in," Williams said. "And the team in New York, they want us to be. We just got to go be consistent and put it all on tape and put it all on the field."
See the top photos of the Green & White heading to practice on Labor Day.