Stud rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris have gotten justified attention on offense this year, but they are only the face of the unit's success. Left tackle Trent Williams, one-of-six Redskins captains, has been a backbone to the teams' successful offensive attack.
Now in his third season, Williams is enjoying his best season in the pros and said he feels the difference in preparation and result, especially from his rookie year.
"Everything has changed in my game and my approach to the game has changed," Williams explained. "My knowledge of the game has changed and looking at my film from a couple years ago, I'm ashamed of it and embarrassed by it."
Ever week, Williams matches up against the best pass rushers in the league, with all three division opponents sending a defensive lineman to the Pro Bowl last season. Playing against the best talent has motivated Williams to improve his game in all dimensions.
"The game is slower to me now," Williams said. "It's not as hard to get through a game as once before. I've improved in all fields, but still have a long way to go to be great, which is where I want to be."
Williams was head coach Mike Shanahan's first ever draft pick with the Washington Redskins. He continues to be impressed by the production that Williams is showing as he progresses in his career.
"He's the best athlete, offensive lineman I've ever been around," Shanahan said. "He's got tremendous quickness, pass protection, running game – everything you look for in a lineman. The sky is the limit for him."
After recovering from a bone bruise that hobbled him earlier this season, Williams collided with left guard Kory Lichtensteiger on the third play of the Thanksgiving Day game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Understanding what was on the line, Williams played through a painful thigh bruise for the remainder of the game, estimating that he was at only 60 percent effectiveness by the fourth quarter.
Praising his captain's gritty effort, Shanahan said Williams was at his finest during the final scoring drive of the fourth quarter.
"You have to have your captains, the guys that you count on, play when they're hurt; not injured," Shanahan said. "But, he has been hurting but he has played at a very high level and you expect that out of your leaders."
Williams agrees that it's though for him to play when he's hurt, however realizes that he needs to step up and play through the pain if he wants to achieve his goals.
"When your body feels pain you just want to shut down," Williams said. "When you're less than 100 percent it makes it that much harder. I just felt like for me to be a huge asset to this team I have to play hurt and be able to finish games."
Williams said that it means a lot to have his name mentioned for a potential starting spot in a Pro Bowl lineup. However, his personal achievements range much farther than just one great season.
"Five years down the line I want it to be a consensus that I am the best tackle in the game. I'm going to continue to work hard until I reach that goal."