Leonard Williams' offseason training with Richard Seymour coming to life on gameday

Scott Thompson
·3 min read
Leonard Williams celebrates after sack against Bucs
Leonard Williams celebrates after sack against Bucs

Leonard Williams has noticeably been in the backfield a lot more this season than any other. Maybe this is what GM Dave Gettleman imagined when he traded for the former first-rounder last season with the Jets. 

Either way, Williams' production has been solid under DC Patrick Graham's scheme thus far, with four sacks and six tackles for loss to go along with 29 combined tackles through eight games. He also has nine quarterback hits and 12 total pressures as well. 

Williams has always been trying to prove his haters wrong, and he's doing it at the moment. And some of that credit might have to be given to former NFL defensive lineman Richard Seymour

The Patriots legend worked with Williams this offseason, and The New York Post's Steve Serby found out just what Seymour wanted to see from the USC product.

“We just talked about attacking,” Seymour said. “Obviously I played in a 3-4 defense, and that was two-gapping. But at the end of the day, we wanted to take the fight to the offensive lineman. So it’s a difference between hunting and being hunted. We want to knock offensive linemen back and be nasty and be aggressive. These are all of the things that I think all great defensive linemen have in common.”

There has been no doubt in Williams' run stopping skills -- it's a speciality that the Giants love with Dexter Lawrence and Dalvin Tomlinson in their base three tackle positions. But that drive in the pass rush has been seen a lot from Williams, maybe even more so than ever in his career.

Is it because he still has something to prove? Well, he wants his respect, but the sack numbers still aren't the top priority for him.

"I think fans are the ones who expect you to have double-digit sacks every year,” he said. “I know as a defensive lineman and especially as an interior lineman that D-tackles especially are not getting double-digit sacks every year. Aaron Donald is one of the exceptions, but he’s a freak.”

Seymour also noted that he was never a double-digit sack player but still garnered respect from opposing coaches who knew he could mess up their entire plan on any given play. That's what Seymour believes Williams is capable of, and he's showing it now.

"It’s about offenses, coordinators, what do they think about him? How do offensive line coaches, or offensive linemen, what do they feel? Do they have to game plan for him? You can affect the game in so many other different ways. I think a lot of people get caught up into the numbers in terms of sacks, but it’s really about impact, and I think he’s been leaving his imprint on the game this season.”

Only halfway through the season, Williams has more than ample time to build on a great first half. And though the sack total isn't in mind (at least not in his words to the media), he should be able to set a career high if he continues being the disruptor the Giants have been molding him into.

"I love playing here. I love the guys on the team, it’s a young team, it’s cool to be able to grow and learn together," Williams explained. "I love Coach [Joe] Judge, I feel like he’s definitely got this program moving in the right direction."

Playing on the franchise tag this season, Williams will be an unrestricted free agent once the season is complete, unless contract talks that haven't gone anywhere since he was traded for change. Williams wishes to be paid like a top defensive lineman and that's what he continues to strive for.

Seymour believes Williams still has years of disruption and tackles in his future. 

"I think he’s gonna hit his peak around 27 years old, and then he’ll hold that for maybe about five years," he said.