The Trench Warfare Film Room featuring Bengals LT Jonah Williams
Jonah Williams is preparing to enter his fourth year in the NFL after starting 16 of 17 regular season games and all four playoff games during the 2021 season with zero missed snaps in those appearances. Williams played at a high level throughout the magical season for a young Bengals team that exceeded virtually every pundit’s and analyst’s expectations for them en route to making it all the way to the Super Bowl, losing by just three points to the Rams.
Williams has shown a rare natural feel and adeptness for playing on the offensive line since becoming the second true freshman to ever start on the O-line during Nick Saban’s tenure at Alabama. Williams continually refined his game during his 44 collegiate starts before entering the NFL as a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Williams came into the league as a ‘high-floor’ prospect due to his technical refinement and polish. Unfortunately, he missed his entire rookie season with a torn labrum he suffered in OTAs. Williams rebounded for a solid sophomore campaign in 2020, although he started just 10 games due to more nagging injuries.
The 2021 season was Williams’ first ‘complete’ season as a pro, and his play was a key component for keeping superstar QB Joe Burrow upright. Williams’ performance was a bit overshadowed because of how leaky and inconsistent the right side of the Bengals’ O-line was during the year. When you focus on Williams’ play alone, it becomes clear that he is a high-quality left tackle, capable of being left on an island in critical situations against top competition. He’s also an impactful, scheme-diverse run-blocker that the offense can rely on.
Here are some of the specific topics that we discussed:
Why it is such an exciting time to be a Bengals fan
The importance of not ‘being the dummy’ as an offensive lineman
Diversifying pass sets, strike combinations and incorporating ‘change-ups’ in pass-protection
Jonah’s study habits when it comes to watching film
Williams’ background as a high school defensive lineman and how that helps him understand what his opponent is thinking
The time-tested idea of the importance of being the first one out of your stance and beating the defender to the spot being critical for winning one-on-one matchups in pass-protection
The cat-and-mouse game happening in the trenches on nearly every play with a great example when facing Packers edge Preston Smith
The art of recovering when things don’t go as planned (which is unavoidable)
Facing Browns edge Myles Garrett twice a year
What makes Garrett special
Jonah’s approach and a breakdown of what it takes to have some success against him
Using high-level awareness to protect the blindside of QB Joe Burrow
How maintaining a strong base and even weight distribution translates into being able to anchor on command, a critical component of quality play at tackle in the NFL
Combatting the cross-chop technique
Setting vertical then switching to a 45-degree angle and setting at a 45-degree angle then switching to vertical
Manipulating space and leverage
Detailed breakdown of Yannick Ngakoue’s unique version of the cross-chop
Being light on the outside hand, utilizing independent hand usage and using the inside hand to punch the ‘near shoulder’ of the rusher
Duplicating a technique and being consistent
Why it is such a challenge and how it is key to success in the NFL
Full film room: