RICHMOND—Trent Williams’ leadership and grit won’t ever be questioned by the Washington Redskins—certainly not after basically playing on one leg in six games last year.
At the start of training camp this year, Williams has been extra cautious in his recovery from right knee surgery, which could bode well for arguably the most important player on the Redskins offensive line.
“I’m more than confident I’ll be back to 100 percent,” Williams said. “The hard part is just being patient ’til you’re 100 percent.”
The Redskins are lucky Williams didn’t seriously injure himself even more than he already had when the injury first occurred on Oct. 2. He played through a torn MPFL (a knee ligament) under his own volition. The good news for Williams is he has more than enough experience with his linemates that rushing to get back to ensure chemistry is of no concern to him or the coaching staff.
“Like I said, the whole line—the line as a whole outside of Chase [Roullier] … but we’ve been playing with each other for years now. Getting that cohesiveness back isn’t a question,” Williams said. “It’s just about getting everybody out there at the same time.”
Coach Jay Gruden has been extra cautious this training camp with injuries. Williams is being held out of periods of 11-on-11, Jordan Reed has had a scheduled off day and isn’t partaking in 11-on-11, first-round pick defensive lineman Daron Payne will be in a walking boot for two to three weeks with an ankle injury that he was still able to walk off on Friday.
T.J. Clemmings and rookie Geron Christian have filled in amicably for Williams, but the Redskins, again, really can’t afford to lose a guy who has rarely caught the injury bug in his nine-year career.
“That was a bad injury. It was,” Gruden said. “And hats off to him for fighting through it because he saw what kind of injuries we had on the line and if we took him off the line for some of those games I don’t know who would have played quite frankly.”
Williams and right tackle Morgan Moses have been the cornerstones of the offensive line for the better part of Gruden’s time in Washington. When both went down with injury last year, the running game suffered, as did the team as a whole.
Their health is paramount in 2018, especially with a new investment at quarterback (Alex Smith) and running back (Derrius Guice).
“I mean, battling the injury was extremely tough,” Williams said. “Going forward, getting back to 11-on-11, it’s just being comfortable with it.”
Williams added that his workload could be more right now, but Gruden won’t be taking any chances with arguably the best team he’s had on paper.
“To get that thing fixed and to watch him rehab and get himself ready to play is just a testament to why he is the best tackle in the NFL,” Gruden said.