FLORHAM PARK Devin White Jersey , N.J. (AP) — Quinnen Williams stepped through the doors of the New York Jets‘ training facility for the first time and couldn’t help but get a bit starstruck.The No. 3 overall draft pick looked around and saw his new NFL teammates — guys he once knew only from watching TV and playing video games.“I met Le’Veon Bell yesterday and I’m like, ‘Whoa! That’s Le’Veon Bell, the No. 1 running back in the NFL,” a smiling Williams said Friday. “It’s just crazy. I met Sam Darnold, that’s crazy. I met Jamal Adams. Man, I’ve got Jamal Adams on my (Madden) Ultimate Team. It’s just crazy.”It might seem wacky right now, but Williams knows he certainly belongs — even without video game controllers in his hands.The playmaking defensive lineman was considered by many to be the best overall talent available in this year’s draft, arguably the safest pick a team could make.Now, he’s going to be a 6-foot-3, 303-pound building block in coordinator Gregg Williams’ defense. The former Alabama star was a stubborn run stuffer and punishing pass rusher for the Crimson Tide, and will likely be asked to fill similar roles for the Jets while lining up at different spots on the line.“Wherever they put me, I’ll play,” Quinnen Williams said, flashing a mouthful teeth covered by braces. “If they put me on kickoff returns, I’ll go crazy. They can put me at anything, and I’m going to try to dominate.”He joins a defensive line that includes Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon, Henry Anderson and Nathan Shepherd. So, adding another player to one of the team’s strengths wouldn’t seem to have been a priority entering the draft.But when Quinnen Williams was still sitting there at No. 3 and the Jets found no acceptable trade options to move down in the first round L.J. Collier Jersey , New York couldn’t resist.“Any time you have a guy that we see as a really talented player, a guy that put a lot of good tape out there his last year in college, and add that to the group we already have, I think it’s really going to be something that could help our defense, especially up the middle,” coach Adam Gase said. “The push up the middle is going to be big for us, especially in this division.”That, of course, mostly means getting to Tom Brady and trying to end New England’s 10-year reign atop the AFC East.Speaking of the Patriots quarterback, Quinnen Williams was asked if sacking Brady would be a sweet moment in his young career.“It’s crazy because Tom Brady started playing in the NFL before I was born,” said the 21-year-old lineman.Well, not quite. Quinnen Williams was born in 1997 and Brady broke into the league in 2000 — but you get the idea.“To sack him, it would be amazing,” he said. “Just to get a sack and just being in the NFL is amazing, so just to get a tackle in the NFL, a tackle for loss, just to play a down, it’s a dream come true for me because I get to play at a high level. So, getting a sack will be like icing on the cake.”While he was considered a sure-thing prospect entering the draft Johnathan Abram Jersey , Jachai Polite was anything but.The outside linebacker was a force at times for Florida, a mix of speed, athleticism and power coming off the edge that had some considering Polite a potential first-rounder.But then came some up-and-down performances, a hamstring injury that hampered him at the NFL combine in February — and some shaky interview sessions and perceptions that he was immature.“It just opened my eyes to the real world,” Polite recalled. “It was just a humbling experience.”Polite slid to the third round, and that’s where the Jets pounced. And, he’s eager to prove they made the right call.“They took a chance on me,” he said. “I’m surrounded by great people, so I have no choice but to change and be great.”The Jets were well aware of the questions surrounding Polite, but met with him and felt comfortable that he could come to New York and thrive — on and off the field.“I don’t think a lot of us had it all figured out at 21,” Gase said. “Whatever happened in the past is irrelevant to me. Moving forward, it’s just going to be on him to do the right things and worry about what he can control, which is show up every day, be on time, know what you need to do, go out there and practice hard.“He does that, it’ll be smooth sailing for him.”And, perhaps not so much for opposing quarterbacks.Polite also was asked who would be the first quarterback he’d like to sack in the NFL.“The first one we play,” the rookie said with a chuckle.In that case Maxx Crosby Jersey , Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills better be ready when the regular season opens Sept. 8.Polite enjoyed watching Dwight Freeney as a kid, particularly how the star pass rusher would zip past blockers on his way to taking down quarterbacks.“I liked the spin move a lot,” Polite said before being asked to grade his own move. “It’s all right. It’s not like his — yet. It’s going to get there.”NOTES: Gase reiterated that he’s not concerned Bell hasn’t taken part in voluntary workouts but said the running back told him he’d be with the team for mandatory minicamp next month. “We know where he is,” Gase said. “He’s working out. Every year that he’s played, he’s been ready to go.” … Gase rebuffed recent reports that there was tension between him and GM Mike Maccagnan. “Unless I say it, it’s really irrelevant to me,” Gase said. “It kind of (ticks) me off a little bit, because we have discussions on everything. That’s our job.”
LOS ANGELES — Two things Clayton Kershaw clearly hates: Being on the disabled list and having pitch restrictions while on the mound.
The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ left-hander might be done with both when he takes the mound Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kershaw will be making his third start since coming off the disabled list for his most recent back injury and has been trending in a positive direction.
What Kershaw would like to see is more of the offense the Dodgers showed in Monday’s series opener, when the club scored 17 runs on 21 hits in an easy victory.
Tasked with slowing that offense at Dodger Stadium, while matching Kershaw pitch for pitch, will be Pirates right-hander Ian Nova.
If Kershaw is almost all the way back on top after an injury, Nova is there already. In four starts since coming off the DL because of a sprained right finger, Nova is 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA.
Kershaw is only this far along in his return from the DL because the Dodgers pulled a last-minute switch on June 23, and had him pitch in New York against the Mets instead of with Triple-A Oklahoma City on a rehab outing.
Kershaw threw 55 pitches against the Mets, giving up two runs on five hits over three innings. On June 28 against the Chicago Cubs, Kershaw was back at it, throwing 68 pitches while giving up one run on four hits over five innings.
A natural progression would have Kershaw at about 80 pitches on Tuesday, but Kershaw has a way of getting more out of himself when the situation requires it.
“I’ve proven that I’m healthy,” Kershaw told reporters after his most recent start. “So now Foster Moreau Jersey , next time out I’m sure the restriction should hopefully be pretty close to off. (I will) get ready and just try to beat an opponent.”
Nova has thrown between 86 and 94 pitches in his four starts since coming off the DL and has given up one or no runs in three of those outings. The one where he did not was on Wednesday at New York. But he did hold the Mets to three runs over six innings, keeping the Pirates close enough to put together a ninth-inning rally for a victory.
That victory was part of a Pirates run where they won four of six games and took series at New York and San Diego. Sure there was a five-game losing streak before that, but going back even further, the Pirates had won four of five.
So even though they were roughed up by the Dodgers on Monday, the Pirates have learned the value of resiliency.
“We’re well aware of what we need to improve upon,” manager Clint Hurdle said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We’re well aware of our monthly progress and then some of our monthly challenges. Love the fact that the game brings attention to specific areas, daily, weekly, monthly, and then I love to watch how some guys are able to fight and battle and work through it.”
Up next is a challenge against Kershaw, who is 2-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 career starts against Pittsburgh. The Pirates are one of two National League teams Kershaw has a losing record against in the regular season, along with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Nova knows his way around the Dodgers, going 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts, one in each of the previous two seasons.