A week after going toe-to-toe with the NFL’s active sacks leader in Atlanta’s John Abraham, Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams braces for another tough task in Minnesota’s Jared Allen.
Coming off a season in which he led the league with 22 sacks, Allen has recorded only three sacks in five games this year, but Williams says the slow start doesn’t diminish his view of the ninth-year pro, who for his career has averaged just more than 13 sacks a season.
“He had over 20 sacks last year, so speaks for itself,” Williams said. “He’s the top pass-rusher in the league just off of that.”
Williams himself has gotten off to a strong start in his third NFL season. Last week, Williams held Abraham without a sack, but he says Abraham and Allen are totally different players and that the Viking presents a tougher challenge.
“He feels you out on film, so who knows what he’s coming with? He’s so versatile, man,” said Williams, who says he has studied nearly every snap Allen has taken this season. “He tailors his rush to whoever he’s rushing against. You can’t just expect one move. He doesn’t have one go-to or favorite move. He’s just a talented pass-rusher. He never stops.
“He requires you to almost be perfect, which is kind of impossible to be perfect every pass play,” Williams added. “He’s just so good. It’s going to be tough, man.”
Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will count on Williams to protect Robert Griffin III’s blind side and will attempt to aid Williams’ effort s by doing what he can to keep Allen off balance with diverse play-calling.
“You try to balance them out and make them play the run, make them play screens, make them play the quick game, make them run sideline to sideline and if they’re thinking about a lot of stuff, then they can’t just tee off,” Shanahan said. “Any guy, especially a guy like Jared Allen, if he knows it’s pass then he’s going to get back in his stance and come off that ball and they’re extremely hard to block. The main thing is just to try not to be predictable – to keep them guessing.”
Despite the daunting task, Williams doesn’t dread the matchup, however. As a player with aspirations of establishing himself as one of the best tackles in the game, he knows that he must prove himself against dominant pass-rushers like Allen.
“I look forward to the challenge. I get to gauge myself on where I am at this point. It’s going to be a battle, but I’m up for it,” Williams said.
Williams’s view differs from his rookie season, when he admitted to losing sleep over upcoming matchups with talented pass rushers.
“Yeah, it’s changed a little bit because I know how to study film now,” he said. “I know how to prepare myself for what I’m going to face. I don’t feel as much anxiety as what I used to. But, don’t get me wrong. It stays on my mind.”