Continuing his climb to stardom, Quinnen Williams put out a dominant pass-rush performance against the Chargers in his return to action.
Regarding the development of young players, you hear phrases like these thrown around all the time – “he is only getting better and better,” “he continues to improve,” and so on. Usually, those statements are made without any evidence, simply assuming that a young player is improving even if he actually isn’t.
However, in the case of Quinnen Williams, we are watching a high-ceiling young player who is legitimately improving on a week-to-week basis before our very eyes.
Against the Bills in Week 8, Williams set a career-high with five pressures, tied for third-most among interior defensive linemen that week. Two appearances later, he went berserk for seven pressures against the Chargers, another new career-high, and tops among IDL in Week 11.
Williams is currently ranked 13th among IDL with a combined total of 4.3 stops and pressures per game (stops are tackles that constitute a “failure” for the offense). He is also one of only three IDL with a 70.0+ Pro Football Focus pass rushing grade, a 70.0+ PFF run defense grade, 20+ pressures, and 20+ stops, along with Cameron Heyward and DeForest Buckner.
In the running game, Williams is arguably the most active defensive tackle in the NFL, leading IDL with 2.2 stuffs (tackles in the run game short of the first down marker for a gain of 2 yards or less) per game.
It is Williams’ development in the passing game that has him transforming into one of the position’s best two-way players. Williams’ pressure rate of 9.7% ranks at the 77th percentile among qualified IDL, while his PFF pass rushing grade of 74.1 is up at the 87th percentile.
At SoFi Stadium, Williams put his rapid progress as a pass rusher on full display.
Raw power here from Williams. Lined up as the 4i-tech, Williams rips underneath the left guard’s punch and bulls into the center. From the point of contact, Williams moves the center five yards into the backfield, prompting Justin Herbert to dump the ball off and miss an open Hunter Henry in the middle of the field. In addition, the pressure leads to an off-balance throw by Herbert that comes in slightly low-and-behind, making the catch a bit tougher for the back, who drops the ball.
Again at the 4i-tech position, Williams engages the left guard to pull him outside and open up room for Jordan Jenkins through the A gap. Williams then rushes outside against the left tackle. Catching the LT out of position (as he is focused on Jenkins), Williams jabs him in the chest with the outside arm, creating plenty of penetration and forcing him to open his hips to the outside. Williams turns the corner, rips through, and hits Herbert to force the incompletion.
Give an assist to John Franklin-Myers, who beat the right guard to force Herbert in Williams’ direction.
As the 4i-tech, Williams rushes against the left guard. He throws a rip move with his outside arm, crossing the LG’s face and penetrating through the A gap. Williams’ penetration impedes the center, who is attempting to block Henry Anderson. This allows Anderson to loop around and penetrate into the backfield, forcing Herbert to scramble, where Jenkins is waiting for him. Herbert attempts to throw, but Jenkins deflects the pass (Herbert may have been trying to throw the ball out of bounds, anyway). It all starts with Williams.
Williams shared a half-sack with Anderson, getting the party started with a beautiful move. From the 4i-tech position, Williams looks to rush to the outside against the left guard. The LG flashes his outside hand to try and get Williams to throw his hands and lean out, but Williams does not take the bait. Following the flash attempt, the LG drops his outside foot, opening his hips to the outside, and Williams punishes him for it. Williams rips through with his inside arm, slicing upward to defeat both of the LG’s arms and win the rep. With Williams bearing down, Herbert is forced to step up, where Anderson is in position to finish him off. Williams gets a piece of Herbert’s leg to earn some statistical credit. Big-time rush.