Joe Blewett with a film breakdown of new New York Jets inside linebacker Avery Williamson who was acquired from the Tennessee Titans this offseason…
You’re going to see a lot of these types of plays from Williamson throughout this review. Raiders run a Duo run, Williamson (right of left hash) takes on the LG (you will see him take on o-lineman a lot). Falls after a lineman falls on him but still gets in on the tackle because of the hustle he consistently shows.
One of the negatives you will see from Williamson is his aggressiveness in the run game at times. Won’t contain his assignment if he thinks he knows he can make a play. Here the Mike LB again runs to the spot he thinks the RB is going allowing the easy cutback decision.
With that being said, Williamson’s aggressiveness on the front side of plays is a big part of what makes him a good player. Raiders run pin and pull, Williamson (Will) recognizes the gap they are attacking. The 300 pound Center pulls, AW takes him on and makes the tackle.
Williamson (Will LB) gets low (drops his hips) to take on the RG coming off of the combo block and also uses his hands to not let the RG get into his body. Williamson is going to bring 100% effort on every play and here makes the tackle because of it.
Williamson (Will/right hash) takes off into the play side a gap as soon as the ball is snapped (inside zone). Williamson isn’t taken out by offensive lineman often like other LB’s. Always fights his ass off to get the tackle or even just a hit on the ball carrier.
Put this play in just to show Williamson’s speed (on right hash). He isn’t just a “banger” type of LB. He also has some good speed/agility for a near 250 pound LB.
Williamson (Mike on right hash) notices something pre-snap. Cheats over to play side, explodes through the play side B-gap and makes the tackle on Lynch on the inside zone.
Williamson (mike to right of left hash) takes on the pulling RG on this power run and still makes the tackle on Fournette. Williamson won’t shy away from any contact.
Again, Williamson (mike) takes on the RT coming off the combo block on this inside zone-split. Notice how Williamson moves towards the play side C-gap while keeping his eyes on the RB and then uses his hands/arms to keep himself clean of the block.
Nice coverage snap for Williamson (Mike at farthest hash). Titans in a pattern matching cover 3. Williamson drops back into his hook zone, notices the tight end running a post and matches it. Nice athleticism shown in that hip flip.
Like I’ve already stated, Williamson (Mike) is a super aggressive guy and is a presence to be felt. Williamson/Adams will be tone setters for the Jets in 2018. Williamson doesn’t care if the carrier is being tackled, he is always going to get his licks in.
Another good coverage snap. Titans in a cover 2 with both man and zone mixed in. Williamson (Mike) drops into his hook zone with inside leverage on the seam route/carries it far enough to pass it off to the safeties. Then jumps on the drag route coming underneath it.
Williamson can cover, not sure where the reports came from that he can’t. Titans run a dagger concept , Williamson (Mike) carries the stem of the post route until the safeties have it/when he sees the dig coming. He then jumps on to the dig. good awareness/play recognition.
Another example of Williamson throwing his body around. Seahawks run what looks like a inside zone (apparently I started recording late). Williamson easily gets off the block of Baldwin. The RB is being taken down but Williamson gets his shot in.
Seahawks run power. Williamson (mike) is blocked by the TE, stacks him and still looks at where the RB is going. Hard to notice in regular speed but Williamson jerks the TE inside to get inside arm free, then takes his outside arm and chops the TEs remaining arm to get off.
Williamson’s worst coverage snap of the year leading to a TD. Williamson (Will) doesn’t close the gap between him and the RB as he runs the sit route and then takes a bad angle to the RB. Based on the RBS movement and were the ball is thrown he needed to flatten his angle.
Williamson (Mike) shows again shows some lateral quickness and he shuffles/scrapes down the line of scrimmage keeping his eyes on the RB. Meets him in the C-gap and makes the tackle.
Williamson (mike) pauses on the backside to see if the TE is coming out on a route and then fills his backside responsibility and lays a big hit (while properly wrapping up).
Williamson (Will) also has really good tackling form. Rare you see runner break his tackles minus odd situations. What you see here is usually how he brings runners down. Wraps around hips, uses body weight and twists to the ground.
This is where Williamson’s (Will) aggressiveness hurts him, when he is on the backside of the play. He will shoot to the play side leaving cutback lanes open at times (Orakpo does this ALL the time). Williamson completely takes himself out of the play here.
Just another example of Williamson (mike) punching an offensive lineman in the mouth. Not often you see a 245 pound LB knock back a 320 lineman when he is putting his head down.
Aggressiveness again hurting Williamson. Lined up at the Mike backer Williamson keys the offensive lineman zone blocking right and sprints that way without ever looking at the RB who cuts the run back.
At times Williamson (mike) will duck his head looking for contact instead of keeping his eyes on the running back. Doesn’t notice the running back bend the run until he is past him.
Williamson (Will) plugs up the B-gap. Offensive lineman lunges into him, usually this would take LB out of the play either being blocked out of the play or the LB not pursuing after. Williamson then chases down the RB from behind and makes the diving tackle. Nice effort show again.
Dolphins run inside zone-split to the strong side. Williamson (Mike left hash) shows himself in the play side b-gap but stays patient and realizes the opening in the a-gap. Nice lateral quickness/shuffle to reposition himself in the A-gap.
Williamson (mike, standing on end of logo) attacks the play side A-Gap as the ball is snapped. The OC isn’t able to get his hands on his chest as Williamson drops down and angles his body to reduce himself. Williamson works past the OC draped on him to make the tackle. Some serious strength show.
Colts fake a handoff to the weak side then roll out to the opposite side on a speed option. Williamson (Mike) stays relatively patient and doesn’t fire head first into traffic. Brissett keeps the ball and pays for it.
Browns fake a power/counter to the strong side but it turns into a RB screen. Williamson follows the pulling guard from the weak side but is slow to recognize the RB screen as its clearly not a run play when Kizer turns and is looking for the RB. But Williamson lays the wood.
This was Williamson’s worst play of the year. Browns run a lead outside zone. Williamson (Will) comes from the weak side and has a easy angle to the RB but instead is more focused on laying a hit on the OC. Crowell bends the run back as Williamson loses his backside containment.
Browns run a HB Toss to the weak side. Williamson (Mike) heads towards the play side A-gap. The RG from the backside blocks Williamson in the back/side/ hugs him while he loses his balance. Williamson has the strength to cut back while a 300 pound OG is on his back.
Browns run inside zone to the weak side. Williamson (Will) does a good job of staying patient. Initially it looks like the RB is going to cut up what turns out to be the backside A-gap. Williamson waits for cut into the B-gap and makes the tackle.
Browns run a outside zone to the strong side. Williamson (mike between hashes) attacks the play side b-gap and gets the tackle for loss on the RB. Williamson will also attack a gap aggressively if he believes the run is going in that direction (sometimes even if wrong).
Browns run a outside zone to the strong side. Williamson (Will) aggressively attacks the backside a-gap in an effort the get to the RB. The RG gets away with a slight hold that alters Williamson’s path. Williamson shows nice athleticism to still get the tackle.
Bad play here from the entire Titans defense (hard to tell exactly who’s assignment was what) as everybody on the second level closes in on the LOS as the TE leaks out behind the defense. As easy of a TD you will see.
Doesn’t look like a big play but its something to point out. Colts run a Y-Throwback which you will see work many times in the NFL. Williamson (mike standing on colts helmet) recognizes the TE coming underneath the formation and jumps on the route. Good play from Williamson.
Colts in a 2×2 gun set and run a spot concept (triangle read) to the boundary side. Williamson (mike) is in man on the TE in this cover 0. Williamson sits on the route stem and positions himself for the outward breaking route (he is right) , gets his hands on the TE on the break and runs with him.
Colts run a sweep to the strong side of the formation. Williamson (Will) uses his arms/strong hands to keep the RG off of his body and then makes the tackle.
Texans run a lead zone from a standard i-formation. Williamson (mike) again uses his strong hands/extended arms and athleticism to get off the guards block and make the tackle.
Again not a huge play but something worth noting. Texans run power, Williamson (mike) meets the RB in the play side c-gap unblocked. Williamson is known as a strong player but also has really good lateral agility. Watch the shuffle to the outside then back inside to get the tackle.
As stated before, getting sucked into traffic is one of Williamson’s weaknesses. Here is the Mike and the Cardinals are loaded up on the boundary side. Williamson puts his head down and hits the TE where he thinks the RB is going while he is running in the a-gap.
Titans in a tampa 2, as Williamson drops back deep the Cardinals hit the RB on a check route. Williamson again shows off his athletic ability to completely adjust his angle with just two steps and make the tackle.
Something else Williamson offers to the Jets is versatility. Plays man on TE/Rb’s, will drop into the flat/hook zone or deep in tampa two. Blitzes off edge/and all gaps. Here blitzes in the b-gap, nice burst and bounces off the RG as he shields his center mass to get the sack.
49ers run a inside zone-split. Williamson (Will) is on the backside of the play but then the RB bends the run back. TE runs full speed trying to make the block, Williamson bounces off him easily and makes the tackle. Not many, if any TEs can sufficiently block Williamson.
Fantastic play by Williamson (Will) here. Reads what play is coming before the ball is snapped. Shoots the backside a-gap and gets a big tackle for loss on the goal line.
Rams run inside zone to the weak side. Williamson (Mike) gets sucked in just a bit too far and lets the LT get right up into him. But Williamson fights through the block and still makes the tackle on the RB with just one arm.
Rams run power to the strong side (field side). Williamson (backside Will) takes on the RG who is climbing to the second level. Williamson stands him up and gets in on the tackle. Williamson consistently gets off of lineman blocks or even stands them up.
Jags run a switch cab concept from the tight trips formation. Williamson (Mike) is in a hook zone and matches the drag route across the field. Has decent position and as the ball comes to the TE, he pulls down the TE’s arm to not allow him to secure the ball.
Jags run a screen to the weak/boundary side. Williamson recognizes it and shows off some speed chasing the RB down from behind.
Part of Williamson’s game and what makes him good is his aggressiveness. But specifically when he is on the backside you see it become a weakness. Here is the Mike, Jags run counter to the weak side. Williamson is overly aggressive allowing the cutback lane for the RB.
Jags run a inside zone from a 2×2 gun set. Williamson attacks the a-gap/fights through traffic and makes the tackle.
Jags run a power to the weak side. Williamson (Will) runs up to take on the RT. Gets a good base, lowers his body, gets under the RT’s pads and extends to get off the block. Then makes the tackle on the RB.
Chiefs fake a sweep to the strong side which then turns into a pass. But still, Williamson (Mike) again thinks he knows where the running back is going and would have completely taken himself out of the play if the ball was handed off.
Brady hits the RB on a quick sit route. Williamson (mike) comes down from his hook zone but doesn’t take a good angle. Needed to take a more flat angle to cut off the RB if he went towards the sideline (he did) because of Williamson’s help from his right side.
Williamson gets matched up with Gronk. He has decent position on him but doesn’t get his head around early enough to contest for the ball. But nice fight from Williamson to rip Gronk’s arm out not allowing him to secure the ball.
In conclusion, Williamson is a solid 3-4 inside linebacker that is largely unknown amongst fans but deserves much more recognition. The Jets upgraded at Mike linebacker this offseason going from Demario Davis to now Avery Williamson. For one Williamson is three years younger then Davis, still has room to grow and has been consistent over the past three years in Tennessee. The Jets did the smart thing not over reacting to one good/great year from Davis, remember fans weren’t jumping out of their seats when he was traded for the bust Calvin Pryor. Williamson played both Mike and Will in the Titans 3-4 defense and was equally effective at both positions.
The common belief that Williamson cant cover, just isn’t true. Maybe this is because he rotated in the lineup with Jayon Brown, Johnathan Cyprien in some nickel/dime looks on 3rd down with Wesley Woodyard being the mainstay. But Williamson wasn’t taken out of most 3rd and long situations like some believe he was, he actually covers pretty well. With the Jets Williamson is going to play primarily Mike because guys like Minter, Lee and Pierre-Louis are all much more suited for the Will position. Williamson is a punch you right in the mouth type of player and is going to be the most aggressive player on this defense along side of Jamal Adams.
Strengths- Aggressively attacks gaps and most of the time will meet the running back before they have the chance to even attack that gap. Versatile as he played Mike/Will, was asked to cover in man, hook zones, flats, blitzed from every gap possible. Strength will show up a lot as he will stand up offensive lineman or get right by them, Tight Ends are rarely going to be able to block him. When taking on blockers consistently shows a good base, arm extension and fires out strong hands getting good leverage underneath the blockers pads. Very active feet, is not willing to give any blocker an easy block and is always giving 100% to get the tackle or at least get his shots in. Solid blitzer as he typically shields his center mass giving the offensive lineman a smaller, less effective area to block as he muscles through gaps.
In zone coverage is good at recognizing route patterns run behind him and then putting himself between the QB and the area they want to throw using his eyes/awareness. In zone he also does a good job carrying vertical routes to the Cb’s/Safeties far enough to allow them to jump on the route. At the same time not allowing uncontested short/intermediate routes become easy completions as he will jump them. In man coverage he usually sits on the route stem and is good at recognizing when the tight end will break (when they drop hips or shuffle). Then will position himself accordingly, get hands on and run the route with them. Even if the ball is completed on him he will try to rip the tight ends arm away from the ball forcing the incompletion. Good hips, shuffle, speed and lateral quickness for a near 250 pound linebacker.
Weaknesses- Will attacks holes too aggressively at times which especially hurts him on the backside. He will lose his backside containment responsibility because he is trying to make a play, allowing a big cutback lane for the running back. Especially on counters and mis-directions he is susceptible to losing containment. Relies on his strength too much at times verses offensive lineman when he could use his athleticism to get around them and be in a better position. During runs will sometimes duck his head into offensive lineman and be more concerned with laying a big hit then where the running back is going. When a run goes a way that he is not expecting he will penetrate too far into the line of scrimmage instead of scraping over top the line of scrimmage. In coverage is vulnerable to double moves (most LB’s are) and usually will position himself for outward breaking routes leaving himself weak to inward breaking routes.
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