Left tackle Trent Williams felt good about his Week 1 performance against New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul despite the fact Pierre-Paul had two sacks and forced a fumble on one of them.
"He's a pretty good player. He didn't wow me if that's what you're asking," Williams said of the Giants' second-string defensive end. "He was a great player. He came in and did his job."
Pierre-Paul started in place of injured two-time Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora and challenged Williams in the passing game and run blocking.
Coaches agreed with Williams' positive review.
"He had a couple bad plays there in the second half, which obviously show up on TV, but overall I thought Trent did a better job," offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "He's not where we want him to be because I think Trent can be as good as anyone. He still needs to get better, but I think he's stepping in the right direction."
After consistently rushing against Williams to the outside, Pierre-Paul in the fourth quarter gave Williams a head fake to the outside, causing Williams to set prematurely and reach. Pierre-Paul exploded inside, while Williams was off-balance. He hit quarterback Rex Grossman and forced a fumble.
Williams interpreted the sack as a collective breakdown, not a personal one.
"As a O-line it stays with us," he said. "It was a protection issue more than him beating me. Anybody can go in there and not get blocked and go tackle the quarterback. We kind of messed up protection, and we didn't really touch him.
"It was just a misunderstanding between me and the guard [Kory Lichtensteiger]. I expected him to be there and he was there for someone else. You watch film, you get stuff like that worked out."
Hightower seeking rhythm
Offensive line struggles weren't the only reason for the Redskins' 2.8-yard rushing average on Sunday, according to running back Tim Hightower. He took some of the blame, too.
"I missed a lot of cuts," said Hightower, who averaged 2.9 yards on 25 carries. "I didn't feel I was in sync at times. Sometimes I was too slow; sometimes I was too fast. A lot of those plays were blocked. I just have to get more out of them. You're asking for that responsibility. You have to step up to the plate."
Hightower couldn't put his finger on why he was not in rhythm.
"I played basketball back in the day — some days your jumpers [are] not quite right," he said. "That's why you shoot so many times. That's why you practice. There are times you may struggle a little bit, but you have to trust your work ethic."
Snap decisions under center
A few of center Will Montgomery's shotgun snaps have been a bit off-target since preseason games began. None have resulted in fumbles, but the Redskins want to fix the problem before it costs them a turnover.
They have been practicing it this week, as they do every week.
"We want him to be perfect," Kyle Shanahan said. "I'm not freaking out about it or anything."
Coach Mike Shanahan said he's confident in Rex Grossman's ability to adjust to any snap that isn't perfect because he's done it several times already, including on the touchdown he threw against Pittsburgh in the preseason.
• Strong safety LaRon Landry (hamstring), and linebackers Brian Orakpo (right ankle) and Keyaron Fox (back) were limited in practice.
• The Redskins had the ninth-oldest Week 1 roster in the NFL, according to figures released by the league. They had the oldest Week 1 roster in each of the last two seasons. Washington's 53 players average 26.60 years.
© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.