After the Redskins achieved what many never predicted in 2015, left tackle Trent Williams believes the team has a strong foundation for success.
Among those that filtered into the Redskins locker room to box up their belongings and say their final goodbyes on Monday morning, left tackle Trent Williams appeared to be one of the most somber around the facility.
"I know we see the expectations from the outside world, but we still had far greater expectations for ourselves," Williams said of the Redskins 9-7 finish that won them the NFC East division. "We didn't accomplish that so it still kind of sucks."
Lamenting the Redskins 35-18 playoff loss to the Packers on Sunday, Williams, the team's offensive captain and only 2015 Pro Bowler, did his best to remain positive as he "let the sting wear off" in front of the media.
His brighter outlook comes with knowing the difference between 2012 and 2015 – years that the Redskins lost both first-round playoff games -- which Williams called "night and day."
"As far as where we were as a team, we won, but it was in a different fashion," Williams said. "I feel like we have a lot of stability now, and I feel like we can definitely build off of 2015."
That stability has a lot to do with knowing the certainties of head coach Jay Gruden and quarterback Kirk Cousins, each of whom established a lot of faith for the fan base, front office and players, guiding the team back to the playoffs with a four-game win streak to close the regular season.
To do all of this with an immense amount of injuries – 15 were placed on injured/reserve this season – and an immense amount of re-tooling the roster in almost every position group, Williams believes the organization fostered the right kind of culture.
"I feel like this team turned into a family," he said. "After facing all that adversity that we did and overcoming so much during the season, it definitely does hurt seeing guys walk out and knowing that we left a lot on the table."
While the frustration and the realities of a season now over will linger with the offensive lineman, Williams will rely on general manager Scot McCloughan and the nexus of players returning in 2016 to breed more faith in another winning campaign.
"It's only up from here," Williams said. "Obviously we get another offseason to kind of continue to fill holes on this team and add depth to add competition. Hopefully we continue to step in the right direction."