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Williams Looking to Step Up as a Leader

Third-Year Player Has Been More Vocal Throughout Offseason Workouts


Jets DL Leonard Williams has clear statistical goals for 2017, but his primary focus is on being a team leader.

"With a lot of older guys being gone, I get to step into my role now and I'm excited about it," he said. "So far throughout this offseason training, it's been great. I've been stepping up and saying stuff and the guys have been responding well."

Williams established himself as a cornerstone of the defense in 2016, leading the Green & White in sacks (7.0) and quarterback hits (25) while earning team MVP honors. Despite only being in his third-year, the 22-year-old is a key part of a unit that is holding each other accountable.

"You have to lead by example because if you're telling people what to do and you're not, you're just a hypocrite," Williams said. "We learned something this offseason that leading by example is just doing your job. We have to take it past that where we're taking guys and leading them with us. If we see somebody struggling or not stepping to the line, we get on that guy. Not to call him out, but because it's in his and the team's best interest. We're finishing now. It's just the little things like staying on top of guys."

While the USC product is looking to fill a new role as a leader, he also has goals for the box score this season.

"I'm going to try to make it back to the Pro Bowl again, but not be an alternate," Williams said. "I'm also trying to get at least 10-plus sacks this year and keep elevating my game."

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