FLORHAM PARK, NJ (AP) – Quincy Williams has tackled out of her younger brother’s massive shadow for …
FLORHAM PARK, NJ (AP) – Quincy Williams has been tackling her way out of her younger brother’s massive shadow for years.
The New York Jets linebacker, who is nearly 16 months older than teammate and sibling Quinnen, was the “other” Williams brother through high school and college. And then in the greatest moments of their football careers.
Quinnen was the first pick of the Jets in 2019 out of Alabama, the third overall selection. He was a 6-foot-3, 300-pound national champion, considered one of the leading defensive linemen in the country.
Meanwhile, Quincy waited until the next night, where he went in the third round to Jacksonville. He was a lesser-known 5-11, 230-pound linebacker at Murray State.
“When I was first drafted, the thing was, who’s Quincy Williams?” he remembered Friday. “And everyone said, ‘Oh, it’s Quinn who played for Alabama’s brother. So most people would think of it as’ I’m a person, I’m a person,’ and just be angry about it. But then I just put it like a chip on my shoulder, as if I were creating a name for myself.
“It’s the right thing to do, so I’m really using it as ammunition.”
It certainly shows in his game.
While Quinnen is a space-eating runner who pushes offensive linemen aside on his way to lay down quarterbacks, Quincy is a heat-seeking missile that hits anyone who tries to get past him.
“My No. 1 thing is just running through people,” said a smiling Quincy Williams, who ranks second after CJ Mosley with a career-high 51 tackles. “So that’s the most important thing. And in the beginning it’s like the crowd ‘ooohs’. I love it. It feeds me. Then all of a sudden my teammates get hyped about it.’
“So it’s basically like I set the tone for my teammates and my teammates who gather behind it. And I love that part of it.”
He started in place of Jarrad Davis last week and had 15 total tackles in New York’s 24-17 loss to Miami, mostly for a Jets player since David Harris had 17 in 2009.
“One of his superpowers is speed,” coach Robert Saleh said. “He is one of the faster linebackers in football if you just look at his GPS numbers. He has the luxury of taking a step before he triggers, because no matter what he lost at the snap, he can regain because he is so fast and long. “
Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich remembers scouting Williams at Murray State leading up to the draft and loving what he saw.
“I fought hard to try to get him to Atlanta and for us to appoint him,” Ulbrich recalled. “Of course it did not work out. Spent a day with him, worked with him, the whole deal. He has the things you can not train. He obviously has the athletics, the explosiveness, the speed and all that. He also has instincts that are real rare.
“He can not always formulate what he sees, but he sees it and he reacts. At the same time, he is a hitter. ”
Williams spent his first two NFL seasons mostly as a backup linebacker, starting eight games as a rookie and as a core player in special teams. He also handled a few injuries and was relinquished by the Jaguars as the team made its final cuts.
The Jets came in and claimed him the next day, reuniting him with his brother. Williams worked his way into the starting lineup at inside linebacker against Mosley for five games in a row after the season opener when Davis recovered from an ankle injury he suffered during New York’s preseason game at Green Bay.
“He has some things,” Ulbrich said. “He’s a guy who’s so far from what he wants to be. Not even close to being a finished product. He has a long way to go and we’m excited about him.”
Davis returned to his starting role last month, with Williams returning to play mostly special teams. But Davis is still not 100% healthy, so the Jets put Williams back in the starting lineup last Sunday – and he was all over the field.
“My first two years I played on raw talent: I’m faster than you,” he said. “My eyes would be in the wrong place, but I would still make the piece and maybe a good game, but if I was technical, I could have done it much faster if I had looked at the right keys and stuff like that.”
That’s what has been drastically improved, by picking the brains of Mosley and Davis and devouring the playbook. Williams knows exactly where acting is headed now, and takes the first step even faster.
“The play just looks so much easier, and most people think it’s natural to him, it was a natural thing,” Williams said. “And it really does, just because the preparation I did, and that’s what they’re harping on here at the Jets.”
Williams called to step back and see how Davis prepares for “a wonderful experience,” insisting he did not feel he was “downgraded” because he learned how to better prepare for a veteran. Williams incorporated some of the stuff he picked up from Davis, adding them to his approach.
“You like your way, then you have the professional way,” Williams said. “So I want to be a pro in this league for a long time.”
And with every hard tackle, force everyone to know his name.
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