ENGLEWOOD, Colo—When the Denver Broncos chose to let defensive tackle Terrance Knighton walk, many wondered who would replace him in the middle of the defense. All eyes are on third-year defensive tackle Sylvester Williams to fill that role. However, Williams enters this season with more question marks than the Riddler’s outfit in a Batman comic.
Pro Football Focus ranked Williams No. 66 out of 81 defensive tackles last season. In his career, he’s logged just two sacks, thirty two tackles, and one fumble recovery in 29 games played. If the Broncos are going to have any success this season, Williams will have to boost those numbers substantially. On Wednesday, Williams spoke to the assembled media about the Broncos new 3-4 defensive scheme, their new coaching staff, and his goals going into the 2015 season.
The Broncos may have undergone more change than any playoff team in NFL history. One of the biggest changes will be the change in defensive scheme from Jack Del Rio’s two-gap 4-3 defense to Wade Phillips’ penetrating single-gap 3-4. Williams talked about where he’ll be lining up in the defense, and the changes in the defensive scheme.
“Right now, we’re really just playing all over,” he said. “I’ve been playing the nose and end spot, really both spots. They’re kind of moving us all around right now and seeing where we all fit it… I think it is two different defensive coordinators. Last year we played a two-gap scheme. This year we’re more of a penetrating defense. Really, it’s all the same. You’ve got to go out there and play football. It’s pretty much all the same, really, just different terminology.”
The intricacies of Williams’ position is one of the reasons rookies and young players have such a long learning curve. With two full seasons under his belt, the Broncos are hoping Williams has turned the corner. He talked about the different responsibilities of a defensive tackle in the NFL.
”You just get different blocks,” he said. “In the nose, you might get more double teams than you do single blocks. In the three-technique, you’ve got a little bit more freedom. They’ve been having us play all over. Coach has been switching us up. Right now everybody is learning all three positions because you never know how it’s going to end up shaking out. You basically have to play all over.”
Williams also discussed his motivation going into this season, and the new diet he’s used to try and improve. If he can become more explosive as a result of eating better, it would help him in 2015.
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“I’ve changed my diet,” he said. “Starting to eat more healthy. Six out of seven days of the week, I just try to eat healthy and get my body fat down and just get stronger overall. That was really my focus this offseason. I do definitely feel a difference. Like I said, I’ve just got to put it all together before August gets here and before training camp rolls around. I just try to eat a lot of protein and a lot of green. That’s really my main focus: protein, greens and a lot of water.”
Ultimately, Williams’ goal is simple. He wants to continue to improve and become a force on defense and a regular visitor in the opposition’s backfield.
“For me, I just want to play on the other side of the line of scrimmage and try to be more productive in the pass game, things like that. I just want to improve on what I did last year and obviously have a better year this year.”