"Everything is that much sweeter as far as the mentality of this defense and the mentality of our players," Williams told the Palm Beach Post. "You're giving us the green light. So you go. That's the biggest thing for all of us. We've all had different coaches. We've all had different schemes. It's one of those things where it's just -- 'Whoah, really, just go?' It's that type of eye-opener. We've been getting used to that. Getting back to just going. We don't have any other responsibilities, really, just go."
Williams went from 38 sacks over his first three seasons in Buffalo -- including 14.5 the year before a regime change in 2015 -- to just five in his only season playing for Ryan. Williams was vocal about basic tenants of Ryan's multiple system, which sometimes asked defensive ends to drop back into pass coverage to clog throwing lanes instead of simply rushing the passer.
While Buffalo's defense did not perform up to expectations a year ago, it was due in part to the lack of buy-in. The same scheme was nearly unstoppable during Ryan's early years as a Jets head coach and even bested Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in a playoff game not too long ago. Over time, as those veterans from 2009 and 2010 filtered out and a younger group of defensive players worked in, the scheme lost some of its luster. In Buffalo, it became a parody of itself thanks to some players like Williams.
The good thing now is that he has a chance to prove himself right.
"It's motivation to prove to myself, my teammates and this organization," he said. "That's all that matters. No matter what team you're on, the year before, if you were MVP of the league, does that mean you don't have motivation now? You're motivated to be better. And do it again. So my motivation is going out for my teammates."
While Williams, 31, has the correct attitude about keeping his motivations directed toward his teammates and coaches, he also knows that all eyes will be on him now. He wanted out of Buffalo because he still views himself as a top-tier pass rusher. Now, he's in a defense with Cam Wake and Ndamukong Suh who both can command double teams on almost every down. Now, there are no excuses for that sack total not to rise. His quest starts against Seattle and Russell Wilson this weekend.