Outside of bye week positioning, there isn’t a scenario in which a player could be traded from a team with fewer wins to a team with fewer more wins than was Avery Williamson, the inside linebacker whom the Pittsburgh Steelers recently acquired from the New York Jets just ahead of the trade deadline last Tuesday. Even since then, the Jets remain winless, and the Steelers remain undefeated.
Even in his short time here, Williamson has already talked about the differences between the two experiences in the different organizations, having now spent two and a half years with the Jets after four with the Tennessee Titans and having only experience two winning seasons prior to landing with the Steelers.
“It’s the complete opposite. In New York, we had a good locker room, but it’s tough when you’re losing, and you can definitely have a lot of different emotions”, he told reporters this past week. “It’s tough, but coming here, it’s the complete opposite. Just getting that first win on Sunday, even though I wasn’t able to contribute physically, it was just fun. I hadn’t won in a while. Definitely cool to just be in a winning locker room and just be a part of a celebration in a win”.
Given that he missed all of the 2019 season due to a torn ACL, the last time he had been a part of a victory was back in week 14 of the 2018 season, when the Jets edged out the Buffalo Bills, 27-23—and that was one of just four wins that New York had on the season.
It’s stating the obvious to say that talent has a lot to do with a team’s ability to win games, but it takes more than that as well. It takes coaching, training, developing, planning. Sometimes it also takes believing in your capability of overcoming odds, and it helps a lot when you have a familiarity with doing so. Otherwise you can’t help but think, ‘here we go again’.
That was how Williamson felt this past Sunday when the Steelers were trailing the Dallas Cowboys, by as much as 13 points in the early stages of the game, but he talked about how much at odds his mindset was from those around him, as somebody who was basically an outsider to that experience, even though he came in knowing that Pittsburgh had been winning.
And now he potentially gets his first chance to actually get on the field and contribute to a win. It remains to be seen exactly what the plan is, but considering that Ulysees Gilbert III was logging some snaps before, it’s certainly not unreasonable to imagine that a seasoned veteran starter could get some sub-package work at some point during the game.