Leonard Williams ready to step in as leader of Jets defense

In this dark wasteland of a Jets season, Leonard Williams has been the one shining light.

Williams’ teammates recognized that fact Friday by voting the second-year defensive lineman as their team MVP. Entering Sunday’s season finale against the Bills at MetLife Stadium, Williams has seven sacks and two forced fumbles. He was named a first alternate for the Pro Bowl.

But the former sixth overall pick out of USC isn’t satisfied.

“It felt good to have a bunch of my teammates back me up and realize that I’ve been working really hard this season and giving it my all basically every game,” Williams said. “But at the same time, I want to accomplish a lot more, and I know that I’m going to work a lot harder in the offseason. And I’m still seeing a lot of things that I have to work on.”

With two full seasons under his belt, Williams is starting to feel “more comfortable to be able to step up and be more of a leader” in 2017 as the Jets try to put this disappointing year in the rearview.

“In high school and college it was more natural,” Williams said of taking on a leadership role. “But in the NFL, it’s a little different just because it’s like the years that you’re in is almost the respect that you get.”

The Jets selected Darron Lee with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2016 draft.

The Jets selected Darron Lee with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2016 draft.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

“I’m still not super vocal,” Williams continued. “But when things have to be said, I’m definitely going to say something. …Next year I’m going to be a little bit more vocal.”


RB Matt Forte (knee) was placed on injured reserve Friday afternoon, ending his season. Todd Bowles had ruled Forte out of Sunday’s game earlier in the day, but placing him on IR allowed the Jets to call up CB Bryson Keeton from the practice squad. Forte finished the season with 813 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games.

LB Lorenzo Mauldin (ankle), DT Steve McLendon (hamstring) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (hamstring) have also been ruled out for Sunday. CB/KR Nick Marshall (hamstring) is doubtful.

WR Robby Anderson (hamstring), CB Juston Burris (knee), WR Brandon Marshall (hip, shoulder), RB Bilal Powell (knee), DT Sheldon Richardson (back), RB Brandon Wilds (hamstring) and DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle, knee) are all questionable.

Bowles said the majority of

those players will be game-day decisions.


Pro Football Focus released grades this week for every player selected in the first round of the 2016 draft. Rookie linebacker

Darron Lee, whom the Jets selected with the No. 20 overall pick, didn’t fare well.

Lee received the second-worst grade of all the first-round picks and was graded as the worst rookie linebacker in the league. According to PFF, quarterbacks compiled a 132.9 passer rating when throwing at Lee this season.

Bowles wasn’t interested in the rankings.

“I don’t know what that indicates or what that’s been based on. I just go by film,” the Jets coach said. “He’s been covering pretty good.”

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Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News

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