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Leonard Williams: Brady 'holding onto the ball' longer

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Take a look at Tom Brady's near-pristine stat line, and you'll struggle to identify a difference between the aging legend's previous season and this one.

But watch the tape, and your stopwatch, and you might notice a change to Brady's Hall of Fame pocket rhythm. According to Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams, it could be the difference on Sunday afternoon, when the AFC East rivals battle for division supremacy.

"[He's] holding onto the ball a little bit longer than he usually does," Williams noted to reporters this week, per NJ.com's Connor Rogers.

"That's giving us something to look forward to, getting after the quarterback. We know we can keep ahead of the offense. If we can get to him, and affect him as much as possible, we can affect the game."

Getting to Brady is the goal of every Patriots opponent ever, but the reality of sacking the greatest of all time has never been more real than it is this campaign.

Brady is being sacked 3.2 times per game and on pace to get taken down 51 times, 10 more than his career-high in 2001, his rookie season. (What goes around comes around, I guess.) As Rogers notes, per Pro Football Focus, Brady is also averaging 2.56 seconds from his drop back to his release (21st out of 30 qualifying QBs), which is one-fifth of a second longer than last season.

Lest you think Brady is immortal and impervious to pain, the hits that the 40-year-old forever-Adonis are showing up on the injury report. Brady sat out practice Wednesday with a slight AC joint sprain in his left shoulder. The ailment will not hold him out of Sunday's test, which will see Williams and the Jets' pass rush try to knock Brady down again, and again.

Williams, with no sacks in five games, is looking to get off his early-season scheid. Against his elderly nemesis, he'll have more time than usual to do so than ever before.

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