By Kevin Ross II
CBS Local Sports presents 32 Players in 32 Days, a daily feature focusing on one impact player from each NFL team.
Trent Williams – LT – #71
Weight: 335 lbs.
Hometown: Longview, TX
Experience: 5 years
In December of 2011, the NFL formally announced the suspensions of two Redskins players, tight-end Fred Davis and left-tackle Trent Williams. Both players received a four game suspension without pay for testing positive for marijuana three times throughout the course of the season.
The suspensions effectively ended the season for both players, and both men were instantly face-to-face with the most pivotal offseason of their careers, and perhaps even their lives. Fast forwarding to the 2014 season, Fred Davis has dealt with multiple arrests and is currently suspended indefinitely from the NFL while Trent Williams has done nothing but make two consecutive pro-bowls following his suspension; he has completely become a new man.
While Fred Davis chose recreational drugs over playing professional football, Trent Williams decided to distance himself from Davis both on-and-off of the field, and is making a name for himself as the best lineman in the entire National Football League.
With Williams’s personal life under control, he’s been able to handcuff his god-given athleticism to hard work and dedication. He spent the offseason working out in Houston, and the big man showed up to camp noticeably slimmer, although he denies it. “I didn’t lose a lot of weight, I just put the right type of weight on,” said Williams who joked about adding muscle to his physique.
Williams does like to joke with the media, but make no mistake about it, he is nothing to laugh about on the field. Ask the likes of Clay Matthews, DeMarcus Ware, Julius Peppers and Jared Allen, and they’ll tell you that Williams is no comedian. If you’re wondering, the above list of players represents a few of the big contract defensive ends that didn’t record a sack against Williams last season.
Williams uses some of the quickest feet in the league to always be one move ahead of his opponent. He combines his quickness with a brute force that is unmatched. Over the last two seasons, Williams has played in all 32 games and is naturally a tough guy. If we quickly step off of the field, Williams was wrongfully tasered by a drunk patron at a restaurant in Hawaii following the 2012 season. By all accounts Williams was only mildly impacted by the taser and did not collapse to the ground. Noting this occurrence is just to highlight Trent’s tolerance for great pain. Who wouldn’t want this guy to be the leader of their O-line? It’s no wonder why the Redskins usually have one of the tougher units when it comes to fighting in the trenches and running the ball.
When run plays are called, Trent Williams typically morphs into Godzilla as he paves the way for Alfred Morris. Mike Shanahan received 90 percent of the credit (with Alfred Morris receiving the other 10 percent) for the Redskins’ first place rush attack in 2012 and dominant attack in 2013 that produced a league high 23 rushing TDs . But the key to Washington’s ground game has always been Trent Williams. In 2013 the Redskins ran 27 percent of the time to the right side of the line. Meaning Williams and the left side of the line paved the way for 73 percent of the team’s total rushes. Offensive lineman will never get league MVP considerations, but it’s clear that Trent Williams is by far the most valuable Redskins player, and it’s not even close.
If Griffin goes down, captain Kirk is a fine back-up. But if Trent does any amount of time on the DL, it’s rookie LT Morgan Moses or swing-tackle Tom Compton getting run. Without Williams, all of sudden the DeSean Jackson acquisition looks silly, Jay Gruden’s passion becomes the butt of jokes, and Griffin would be on the fast track to another injury. It’s a shame that one player means so much to an organization, but it’s true. And Redskins nation is looking at a miserable season if anything happens to their Godzilla of a left-tackle.
Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.