One of the great mysteries of the Jets over the past two years has been why Leonard Williams can’t get sacks.
The defensive end has three sacks this season after getting only two last year. The five combined sacks over two years are fewer than he had in 2016 (seven) alone. He has not had a sack in his past nine games.
“I wish I had the answers,” defensive line coach Robert Nunn said. “It’s one of the most frustrating things of my coaching career is not having more sacks for him the last two years.
“The guy continues to do what we ask him to do. You might want to poll the guys who are against him. There’s not many people who can do what Leonard can do. The list is very short. He’s disruptive.”
The Jets have credited Williams with 21 quarterback hits this year, the most on the team. The coaches blame double teams for some of the lack of sacks, but dominant players beat double teams.
“We keep looking at it, this and that,” defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said. “But the thing is, really at the end of the day, only one guy can kind of get the sack. And coming into the year, many thought that might be a question mark for us. But Leonard is steady, the other night [Henry Anderson] had three, they come in bunches. Leo would have a three sack game, he’ll be right there. They come in bunches, he’s working hard, we think the world of him. The guy plays a bunch of snaps for us. My hat’s off to him.”
Rookie QB Sam Darnold has been making more plays with his legs in the past few weeks. He picked up a few crucial third downs against the Texans by running. While he is never going to be Michael Vick, Darnold has shown he can be an effective scrambler.
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Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates talked about how Darnold has to strike a balance between knowing when to take off and knowing not to do it too much and risk injury.
“I think you just let the game come to you,” Bates said. “You’ll see a lot of young quarterbacks that will take off and run. He’s a pocket passer, and when it presents itself — when the lane opens up or things break down — he knows when to make plays. You don’t want to encourage just running around and scrambling.
“The defensive ends are extremely fast in this league, and that’s where you get in trouble. But if all of a sudden, they do [stunts] or they lose their gap control and he’s able to see it and he’s able to take advantage of it. We’ve been encouraging it. He did a really good job, I thought, at USC and he’s been able to do it the last couple of weeks.”