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Williams set to make debut against Cowboys
Question of the Day
ASHBURN, Va. | Trent Williams walked into the locker room holding a 4-inch binder with hundreds of pages detailing the Washington Redskins offensive game plan. He said it's about 10 times thicker than the game plans he had at Oklahoma.
That's appropriate. His assignment is his first NFL game is going to be about 10 times tougher than what he usually faced in early season games in college.
The No. 4 overall pick gets thrown into the fire right away Sunday night, lining up at left tackle against sack-meister DeMarcus Ware when the Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.
"It would have been a lot easier to start off with someone not as good," Williams said. "But, you know, it sets the stage."
Ware is averaging more than 10 sacks per year since entering the league in 2005. He piled up 20 in 2008. He has sacked Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb 7½ times, including twice in Dallas' 34-14 playoff win in January that ended McNabb's career with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Williams, meanwhile, is dealing with the excitement and nerves of his first Week 1 in the NFL.
"I feel both. But me, I'm kind of a mellow dude," Williams said. "I'm really taking it day by day, I'm not trying to overwhelm myself."
And he knows what he's up against.
"I'm about as ready as I'll ever be," Williams said. "It's too late to say I'm not ready. ... We've watched a ton of film. I see what everybody else sees. He's a great player. There are not many weaknesses in his game, but I feel like if I play solid that'll give us a chance to win."
Williams spent training camp testing himself daily against Brian Orakpo, who had 11 sacks as a rookie a year ago and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl. Williams has shown outstanding quickness and an ability to recover quickly, but he had a bit of a wake-up call against Terrell Suggs in a preseason game against Baltimore.
Coach Mike Shanahan compares Williams favorably to Ryan Clady, the All-Pro tackle Shanahan coached in Denver.
"Trent so far has got that athletic ability," Shanahan said. "Hopefully he has that same type of game day expertise and composure, because Ryan had that. And I think Trent has a good chance to have that same demeanor."
Williams has been getting tips from six-time Pro Bowl tackle Chris Samuels, who retired at the end of last season and has been working with the Redskins as a coaching intern. They've been looking at the video for tendencies Williams can exploit. The problem is that Ware, as Williams put it, "does everything good."
"I think everybody has a tendency to do something," Williams said. "It's just are you good enough to take advantage of that tendency?"
The Redskins need Williams to become a solid anchor in a hurry. Three-fifths of the offensive line is new, and right guard Artis Hicks and right tackle Jammal Brown spent the preseason learning new positions.
Williams is from Texas, so he's spent many Sundays watching Ware and the other great pass rushers in the NFL. It only occurred to him last year, when he was a senior in college, that he would actually have to try to block them.
"For some reason, I thought once I got up there, everybody would be gone and I would be playing the same people I played in college," Williams said. "But that's not the case."
Now it's just a matter of not getting embarrassed by Ware in prime time.
"I like the stage and the thrill of the game," Williams said. "But, like you said, it ain't a cupcake starting off."
By Michael P. Orsi
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