WASHINGTON — Left tackle Trent Williams injured his kneecap in training camp and aggravated it again in Week 4. He was in pain through the team’s bye week and did not practice at all going into the Week 6 matchup vs. the San Francisco 49ers.
But when the team was also without Ty Nsekhe, Williams suited up and anchored the offensive line in a game where the Redskins barely hung on for the win.
Afterwards, in the locker room, the typically soft-spoken team captain rated his play as “average.”
“I didn’t necessarily feel like myself, but that’s expected. I haven’t done anything with football in the last two weeks. I felt rusty,” he said. “It was kind of hard early trying to fight through the rust and everything, but once you start getting in the flow of the game and the adrenaline starts rushing, you kind of start to worry about the game more than anything.”
His coach, Jay Gruden had a slightly different assessment of his efforts.
“He played extremely well,” Gruden said. “And I know he didn’t feel like himself, but I’ll tell you what, he was impressive. He played really well. We’re glad he played.”
While the difference in grade can be chalked up to many things, it is also a reminder of just how good Trent Williams is and can be.
Last season, outlets like Pro Football Focus ranked Williams as the best offensive tackle in the NFL. This season, as he battles through some degree of knee pain each week, he has slipped into the realm of being a top-10 tackle instead.
Even so, his unit is playing extremely well together, another incentive for Williams to suit up each Sunday. In pass protection, the line has allowed only eight sacks in five games, good for fifth among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts.
On the rushing side of the ball, PFF said Williams is part of a unit that gets tailbacks 2.17 yards before contact, fourth-most in the league going into Week 6.
Even though this will likely be a frustrating and painful campaign for Williams, one in which he will feel average more often than excellent, it’s good to know that his average is still very helpful to the Redskins.