ENGLEWOOD • This time last year, Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams was thinking Pro Bowl. Now, he doesn’t care.
Williams started to consider the possibility of his first Pro Bowl last year, but missed some time with an injury and didn’t make it. He vowed not to think about it this year.
“I think I was on good pace last year and was all excited about it,” Williams said. “I just decided to play and whatever happens, happens.”
The irony is this could finally be his year. Williams is on pace for 128 tackles, but he also has added some big plays.
He has two sacks, a half sack behind his career best in a season. He already has tied a career best with two forced fumbles.
Williams said his goal is to make more big plays in the last two months of the season.
Williams is the only linebacker who stays on the field in all situations for the Broncos, who have the top-ranked defense in the NFL. And team success could be what finally gets Williams enough Pro Bowl votes.
“You don’t want to be the guy on a bad defense,” Williams said. “I’d give away personal productivity for the productivity of the defense.”
Williams said he likes the versatility of being the weakside inside linebacker in the new 3-4 scheme. He lines up in different spots, and can drop back in coverage or rush the quarterback based on the play. He took to it immediately, and others noticed.
“He looks very comfortable,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “There’s not a lot of hesitation that you might see from people who are part of a new scheme. It’s obvious he has the instincts, it’s obvious he worked hard to get comfortable quickly.”