When the Redskins selected Trent Williams with the fourth pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, they envisioned a franchise cornerstone and perennial Pro Bowler at left tackle.
Now in his third season, the Redskins are beginning to see that come to fruition, and the rest of the league is taking notice.
"Last year, I improved a lot," he told the media earlier this week. "I'm about improvement every year, every game so I look at last year and I still don't think that the player last year was the player that you see now."
Whether it was starting his first career game against Cowboys sack-master DeMarcus Ware, or weathering the controversy of a four-game suspension last season, Williams feels more mature as a player and teammate in 2012.
"Experience is probably the best quality you can have in this game," he explained. "Just being able to see things, because there's just so much they throw at you at this level. Just having experience--it's confidence."
In Week 6, Williams held Falcons' defensive end John Abraham, the NFL's career leader in sacks (118), without a sack or tackle.
Last Sunday against the Vikings, Williams held Jared Allen, the reigning NFC defensive player of the year to just one sack, a play head coach Mike Shanahan said was out of Williams' control.
"Trent's been playing good--very good," Shanahan said, looking ahead to the Giants game. "Trent is up for the challenge."
Against the Giants, Williams will be pitted against one of the NFL's top defensive lines, including stalwart defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora.
Williams embraces the matchup.
"It's a huge challenge and we have to go in and play well. They do have the best front four that the league has to offer," he said. "Their front four is the reason they win championships.
"We have to be on our best efforts to try to neutralize them as much as possible."
Despite beating the Giants twice last year, the Redskins sat at home for the playoffs, while the Giants went on a six-game winning streak to win the Super Bowl.
The Redskins were the last team to beat the Giants before they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, but Williams doesn't expect New York to be jealous.
"I don't even think they would remember something like that," he said. "They went on to win the Super Bowl, obviously. You do something like that, you kind of forget about all of the bad things that happened that season."
If the Redskins (3-3) beat the Giants (4-2) on Sunday, they will have their first division win of the season and the third victory in a row against the Giants.
More importantly, it will give them a share of the division lead for the first time since Week 1.
"I'm looking forward to this part of the season," he said. "Obviously, at this point it's not really too big of a deal because we've still got all of our division games in front of us."