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Williams' NFL Education Continues


Every game is a learning experience for left tackle Trent Williams, the Redskins top draft pick last April.

And once his rookie campaign is over, Williams will have certainly earned his veteran status, given the caliber of pass rushers he has faced this year.

In the first half of the Redskins' season, Williams has lined up against Dallas's DeMarcus Ware, Houston's Mario Williams, Indianapolis's Dwight Freeney and Chicago's Julius Peppers.

Combined, they had 269 career sacks heading into the season.

He also lined up at times against Green Bay's Clay Matthews in Week 5. Matthews is only leading the NFL with 9.5 sacks.

Even Detroit's Kyle Vanden Bosch proved to be a challenge.

Williams has mostly held his own.

That's good, because he has mostly been on his own.

Coaches have shown enough confidence in Williams' abilities that they feel he does not always need blocking help from a tight end or running back.

"For rookies like Trent, I think the NFL is a long season for them," offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "They go from finishing college to getting ready for the NFL Draft. You never really can prepare them for the games until they start.

"I think each game time experience, you do get a little more comfortable. You understand the speed of the game, what the players are going to be like, what it takes throughout the week to be ready. I think Trent has improved each week doing that."

For his part, Williams looked at the Redskins' schedule before the season started and he knew the pressure he would compete against each week.

The toughest part of the challenge is that each of the pass rushers bring something different to the table.

For example, Ware is big, fast and relentless, Freeney has a devastating spin move and Peppers has long arms that must be contained.

"Yeah, I feel like this is preparing me well," Williams said. "And going up against Brian Orakpo as much as I did in preseason prepared me well. But with each of these pass rushers offering something else that they do really well, it's kind of hard to say I'm just prepared for anybody in the NFL."

After the bye, Williams must ready himself for Philadelphia's Trent Cole on Monday Night Football.

It's Williams' first time matching up against Cole, who leads the Eagles' defense with six sacks. He missed playing against Cole in Week 4 due to a knee and toe injury.

Cole is similar to Ware in how he uses his speed to get after the quarterback.

Call it another significant challenge for Williams.

"I feel like I've had to grow up quick, but I don't think I've done all my growing just yet," he said.

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