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As a Rookie, Williams Played With Confidence


At season's end, Keiland Williams didn't feel like a rookie anymore.

Serving primarily as the Redskins' third-down back, Williams played with surprising confidence last season.

The 5-11, 230-pound running back saw significant playing time due to injuries to Clinton Portis, Ryan Torain and Chad Simpson.

"With the snaps I was able to get and the reps I was able to get, I definitely feel like I was able to grow more comfortable and improve," Williams said. "I was able to go out there and just play. I wasn't playing like a rookie – over-thinking things and trying not to mess up. I was out there reacting and doing some good things."

Williams, undrafted coming out of LSU, earned a roster spot coming out of preseason last year and gradually worked his way into playing time.

He started three of 15 games. Consider that he started three games in the previous four years at LSU.

Williams finished the season second on the team with 65 carries for 261 yards – a solid 4.0-yard average – and three touchdowns.

He was a key outlet for quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman in the passing game, pulling in 39 catches for 309 yards and two more touchdowns.

Does Williams, 24, feel like he has established himself?

"I would like to think that I have," he replied. "I feel like I did some good things out there. Hopefully the coaches feel the same way and I'm back here next year."

He won't dare become complacent, though.

"I have to do it all over again" next season, he said.

Williams is part of a crowded running back corps at the moment.

Clinton Portis's future with the Redskins is uncertain heading into the offseason. Ryan Torain is expected to compete for a starting job in 2011. Midseason pickups Chad Simpson, James Davis, Andre Brown and Shawnbrey McNeal are in the mix.

Williams's experience could give him an edge when it comes to competing for roster spots.

He welcomes serving in a third-down role. He was solid as a pass-catcher and he believes he improved in pass protection as the season progressed.

"It's just whatever the coaches want me to do and whatever they feel like I'm capable of doing, I'm ready to take on that challenge," he said.

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