Williams is coming off what Pro Football Focus charted as his best game. Playing primarily against Colts defensive end Justin Houston, the savvy-10-year-strong-as-an-ox rusher whom came into last Sunday's game sixth on the active sacks list, Williams allowed no pressures on 42 pass snaps. Houston is still sixth on the list.
According to PFF, that effort moved Williams up to No. 24 among tackles for blocking and allowed pressures. That puts him a slot ahead of Browns rookie left tackle Jedrick Willis, Jr., his old Alabama teammate Cleveland took with the 10th pick this year. That's two slots ahead of Buccaneers rookie right tackle Tristan Wirfs, this year's 13th pick. The only 2020 rookie tackle ahead of him in the PFF rankings is the Niners' Colton McKivitz, a guy that has taken all of 14 snaps.
And Williams has allowed just one sack, PFF says, while Willis has allowed three and veteran left tackles such as the 49ers' Trent Williams (four) and the Eagles' Jason Peters (three, thanks in large part to the Bengals' Carl Lawson) and the Bucs' Donovan Smith (three) have allowed more.
"He's getting better every time he steps on the field," says Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan. "He's banking the experiences of every one of these pass rushers he faces. He's improving his play speed, his technique. All the things you'd expect him to improve. He's been a very solid performer."
Callahan knows something about offensive line play. Bill Callahan, his father, has been one of this century's NFL offensive line gurus and is the architect of Cleveland's No. 1 rushing attack as the Browns offensive line coach.
Brian Callahan has watched Williams pick up something new every game. A hand move here. A counter move there with a pass set. Maybe a counter-counter move with the angle.
In his debut against Chargers Pro Bowler Joey Bosa, PFF had him for three pressures on 45 passes. In that first game in Cleveland he allowed just one hit on Burrow and three hurries on 72 pass sets. And Garrett's game-changing play, a goal-line sack and strip, came inside.
Williams gave up one of the eight sacks in Philly, but came back the next week and helped shut down the speedy and athletic Jags rusher Josh Allen with just one pressure out of 41 snaps. He didn't allow one of the seven sacks in Baltimore and allowed just one hit of Burrow during the Ravens' blitz that occurred on nearly 60 percent of the 39 drop-backs.
"I think one of the reasons he's learning so quickly is because of the caliber of rushers he's facing," Brian Callahan says. "Those are things you learn the more and more you play as you start to see all these guys and the repertoires of their rush moves and he gets to cement his counter attacks. That part has been fun to watch. His growth has been good for us. We've gotten better and better at pass protection as the year has gone on."