Williams is one of the best interior run defenders in the NFL. His prowess against the run is what earned him the massive pay increase. What he isn’t is a sack maven, with just 4.5 quarterback takedowns in four seasons. The 28-year-old lineman wants to become better at bringing down passers in 2017.
“I need to get my sacks up,” Williams said last month, via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “I need to get my pass-rushing up. I am excited. I just had a meeting with our D-line coach, Coach [Joe] Cullen yesterday, about me kind of fine-tuning. I have the run-stop. I could still work on it, obviously, but I’m more just trying to work on my pass rush, trying to get out there and do the best I can.”
Williams has never had more than two sacks in a season since being drafted in the third round in 2013. The 340-pound clog took over as a full-time starter in 2014 and morphed into a playmaking run defender. While he’ll never be confused with Aaron Donald or Geno Atkins, when the Ravens handed Williams a new contract it came with the expectation that he’d continue to improve his pass rush.
“People say, ‘Oh you got a contract, and now you can kind of relax.’ There is no relaxing,” Williams said. “It is actually that you got the contract, so now you have to earn your keep. So now you have to push the gas a little bit harder and kind of get as much as you can out of yourself to show people, ‘Hey, I earned this.'”