Ethan GreenbergNYJets.com Contributo
Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson has lined up with a number of different players throughout his seven-year career, but he believes this year’s group has the potential to be dominant.
“We know we can be great as long as all of us put in the work each and every day and push each other like we’re supposed to,” Wilkerson said. “We’re doing that and (defensive line) coach Nunn and (assistant defensive line) coach Glover in the room speaks volumes. We just have to keep on preparing and working hard each and every day.”
The unit has high expectations this season with the Temple product leading the charge along with the versatile Sheldon Richardson and third-year player Leonard Williams, who earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl last season.
“Everybody here knows his name speaks for itself,” Wilkerson said of Williams. “He’s got a great reputation in this league and he’s only going to get better. He’s improving and working hard every day like he’s supposed to.”
Last year, the D-line flourished in Week 1 as they accounted for 6 of the team’s 7 sacks against the Bengals. The 6’4”, 315-pound Wilkerson registered 1.5 sacks in the opener and finished the season with 4.5, but head coach Todd Bowles said Wilkerson gutted it out while playing through an ankle injury. The Linden, NJ native said he is fully healthy and starting to feel like the player that racked up 12.0 sacks in 2015. Needless to say, he was excited to put the pads on Monday.
“Before you know it preseason is going to be rolling around, so it’s good we got to come out here and put the pads on,” he said. “We’ll put them on tomorrow and the next couple of days.”
Even though there have only been three practices, Wilkerson is happy with the team’s attitude.
“I think the team is coming out good,” he said. “We’re coming out in good spirits. We’re pushing each other and competing, which is what Coach is asking us for.”