Due to the injuries that occurred during Sunday's win over the Giants, tackle Trent Williams took over at guard in the second half and put on a strong performance in his new role.
Getting the first win of the season against the Giants was no easy task. Players stepped up in all phases of the game, especially with the amount of injuries that the team suffered.
Four-time Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams even had to take on a new position to help lead the team to victory.
Williams was moved to left guard when both guard Shawn Lauvao and center Kory Lichtensteiger went down for the game in the second and third quarter, respectively. With Lichtensteiger out, Williams switched over in the third quarter, with guard Spencer Long taking the center spot and second-year tackle Ty Nsekhe taking over at left tackle.
"I saw Ty [Nsekhe] coming in so I was like, 'We've got ourselves a 6-foot-8 left guard. Alright, we're going to make it happen,'" Williams said he first thought when the injury occurred. "Then he pointed to me and said, 'Guard.' And I was like, 'What? No, not me.' He said, 'Yeah, coach said go to guard.' I didn't have much time to debate about it. I just had to do it."
Despite Williams' experience, making the mid-game change to a new position is a huge adjustment. He was initially a bit reluctant to take on the spot.
"There was no discussion," Williams said. "I wanted a little debate. I wanted to at least ask a couple questions, but it was a, 'Hey you're at left guard. You've got to do what you've got to do. We don't have anybody else. … I only had 30 second to think about it and I just had to go (with) the flow."
Despite the lack of preparation he had before switching to an entirely new position in a close divisional battle, Williams made a huge impact at guard. And that was no surprise to the coaching staff.
"[Nsekhe] is a tackle and we felt that Trent knows the offense and the interior part of it a little bit better," head coach Jay Gruden said after the game. "[Williams] is a great tackle, but all three of those tackles are very good tackles. We just thought [Williams] was a more natural move to guard."
His blocking was indeed effective at guard throughout the second half, including taking care of two players on his own during a touchdown in the third quarter, a pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver Jamison Crowder, to take a 23-21 lead.
Williams' success is even more impressive because of the fact that he has never once been at guard in his entire football career. While most football fans don't think about the difference between the roles on the offensive line, the change was a completely different look for Williams who has played all 87 career games in the NFL at tackle.
"Never. Not one time. Not a one-on-one, not a practice rep – nothing," Williams said of playing guard. "That was the first time in my life that I've played guard in a game. I moved to center one time in college, but never guard. It was tough. … It was extremely difficult. It's a totally different game inside – definitely not what I'm used to. Luckily I didn't do too bad."
While the switch was not ideal, he acknowledged that what was important was that everyone stepped up in whatever role they had, even if it was a bit uncomfortable, to win the game.
"There was a lot of times during the game where we could've said, 'Alright, that broke our backs right there,' Williams said. "But you've got to stay with it, and that's what it takes in this league."