Redskins.com's Jake Kring-Schreifels provides five takeaways from Trent Williams's press conference at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
1. Junior Galette is still explosive after two Achilles surgeries.
Williams is one of the best players to ask about Galette's resurgence considering that fact that he faces off with him in 1-on-1 drills each day at practice. The left tackle has seen Galette return to form and is consistently impressed with his speed and energy.
"A lot of speed, explosive, elusive," Williams said. "All the same qualities that made him one of the best pass rushers in the league."
Williams detailed that getting his hands on Galette is the best way to neutralize him, based mostly on their size difference, but admitted it's still a challenging task with him.
"He's an eight-year pro, so he's smart," Williams said. "He knows the game. He's been around for a minute, so he knows how to use his rush to his advantage. I mean, he's just a really good player."
2. The variety of pass rushers continues to help him improve.
Because the Redskins have a strong stable of outside linebackers and pass rushers, Williams is constantly tested each day. The variety of their efforts to get to the quarterback gives Williams an opportunity to test his various skills and teach him about places he needs extra work.
"It's a changeup," he said. "Having Preston [Smith], who's a bigger body, probably a little stronger, a little longer, two totally polar opposite types of pass rushers. The changeup helps me tremendously."
Williams has noticed that the defensive line has made some major improvements, noticeably in their hands and their get-offs, instituted by defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. He's also been impressed with Joanthan Allen, a rookie defensive lineman he hasn't seen this strong on a Redskins team before.
"He's really explosive off the rock. He learns quick," Williams said. "A couple moves that I would do and it would take a few times to catch on, with him it only works once and you've got to switch it up. He's extremely strong so you have to be very mindful of playing with a good base when playing against him. He knows not to get past quarterback depth, which a lot of young guys make that mistake. You run them by pretty easy. I was just impressed when he gets to the depth of the pocket he turns his rush back into you. And like I said, he's pretty strong, so it's pretty eye opening."
3. The next step for the offensive line is improving the run game.
The Redskins ranked 20th in the league last year with 106 rushing yards per game, an area the team and Williams thinks can continue to improve upon.
"I think when we can all put our hand in the dirt and move the line of scrimmage and keep the ball going downfield on the ground, I think that makes us more effective as an offense," he said.
This is the second year the team will have the same starting offensive line unit, which should help provide the cohesiveness to achieve the team's goals on the ground. Williams knows the importance in what having a sound run game can do against a defense, but acknowledges that it takes effort from more than just the five men up front.
The offensive line is still "the engine to the car" though, and with the experience that a relatively young group has, Williams believes the tools are there to keep taking strides.
"The more experience they get, the better they are going to play, which is scary because they are already playing at a really high level," Williams said. "But I know from experience that in this league, the more you play, the better you get. I think it's going to come with time and hopefully this season is the time to take that next step. That's about it, man, and some luck – some guys staying healthy. There's things you can't control, but if we have the ball bounce our way and have all five guys every game, that will help us out."
4. Consistency is still his biggest priority.
Because Williams is often considered elite and one of the best left tackles in the NFL, it's easy to think he has mastered his craft. What more does he need to accomplish at training camp?
The Washington Redskins offense conducted their fifth day of training camp practice Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va
Williams would argue that it's about operating on a high level consistently each play, which is hard to do in a game such as football.
"Every year I'm looking at my film and I'm looking at a way to get better," Williams said. "I'm not really looking at things I did well. I'm looking at things I didn't do so well. I can always be better technically. You can always play more consistent. That's one of the things in this league, everybody is so good, it's kind of hard to play at a high level every play. I'm crazy enough to think that I can do it, so I'm going to keep working until I get there."
You can see the effort behind that belief in Williams' offseason workouts, which he says are really tests of his mental strength more than anything else.
"I think it definitely makes you tougher mentally and it gets you confidence in the work that you put in," Williams said. "It's probably only maybe one percent of guys who will sit out there and do that on their time off. For me it gives me confidence, and like you said it lets me just focus strictly on football and not having to come in and get in shape or whatnot."
5. D.J. Swearinger backs up his barking with his play.
"The minute he steps on the field, you can tell he's a vocal leader, and he lets you know he's there [laughter]."
Williams can't get too frustrated with Swearinger's loud behavior because he sees the dynamic that it's brought to the defense, becoming a dynamic leader for the secondary.
"It's quiet out there, no music, sometimes you just get tired of hearing it and you just give him a little chatter back, but I mean for the most part, it's nice, it's clean, it's healthy competitiveness and it's what we need," Williams said.