Reporting Grant Paulsen
Trent Williams was playing the best football of his career when he got suspended for the final four games of the 2011 season last December.
The third-year left tackle trained seven days a week this offseason in Houston, lifting weights and working out with one specialist while practicing his technique with another.
He lifted weights and worked out Monday through Friday, then worked on offensive line drills and blocking tactics with a former NFL offensive linemen Friday through Sunday.
With training camp a week old, Williams’ tireless work appears to be paying off. He’s been dominant in one-on-one drills and has emerged as one of the early stars of Redskins training camp.
“I worked on my technique with my part-time offensive line coach all offseason, maybe that has something to do with it,” Williams said when asked about his early-camp success. “Maybe it’s just me getting a little older in the game and learning.”
Williams says the only major change he’s made is that his stance is now “more on an angle than vertical.” The former Oklahoma standout says he is also much stronger now than he was at the start of last season. He weighs 324 pounds now compared to the 319 he weighed when he began his first training camp in Ashburn back in 2010. Williams says that he’s also got less body fat now.
Entering his third campaign anchoring Washington’s offensive front, Williams is now protecting the blindside of Robert Griffin III, who is expected to help save a franchise that has been sputtering between mediocrity and futility for the better part of two decades.
But being tasked with keeping Griffin upright is not changing Williams’ mentality.
“Protecting the quarterback is a huge responsibility no matter who’s back there,” he said. “There’s going to be hungry defensive pass-rushers every week trying to knock whoever is back there’s head off. It’s my job to protect them. I don’t feel added pressure just because we have a highly touted rookie back there.”
If Griffin ends up having a banner first season, Williams’ play at left tackle will be a major reason why.