A week after going toe-to-toe with the NFLâ€™s active sacks leader in Atlantaâ€™s John Abraham, Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams braces for another tough task in Minnesotaâ€™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 doesnâ€™t diminish his view of the ninth-year pro, who for his career has averaged just more than 13 sacks a season.
â€śHe had over 20 sacks last year, so speaks for itself,” Williams said.Â “Heâ€™s the top pass-rusher in the league just off of that.”
Â 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.
â€śHe feels you out on film, so who knows what heâ€™s coming with? Heâ€™s so versatile, man,â€ť said Williams, who says he has studied nearly every snap Allen has taken this season. â€śHe tailors his rush to whoever heâ€™s rushing against. You canâ€™t just expect one move. He doesnâ€™t have one go-to or favorite move. Heâ€™s just a talented pass-rusher. He never stops.
â€śHe requires you to almost be perfect, which is kind of impossible to be perfect every pass play,â€ť Williams added. â€śHeâ€™s just so good. Itâ€™s going to be tough, man.â€ť
Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will count on Williams to protect Robert Griffin IIIâ€™s blind side and will attempt to aid Williamsâ€™ effort s by doing what he can to keep Allen off balance with diverse play-calling.
â€śYou 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 theyâ€™re thinking about a lot of stuff, then they canâ€™t just tee off,â€ť Shanahan said. â€śAny guy, especially a guy like Jared Allen, if he knows itâ€™s pass then heâ€™s going to get back in his stance and come off that ball and theyâ€™re extremely hard to block. The main thing is just to try not to be predictable â€“ to keep them guessing.â€ť
Despite the daunting task, Williams doesnâ€™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.
â€śI look forward to the challenge. I get to gauge myself on where I am at this point. Itâ€™s going to be a battle, but Iâ€™m up for it,â€ť Williams said.
Williamsâ€™s view differs from his rookie season, when he admitted to losing sleep over upcoming matchups with talented pass rushers.
â€śYeah, itâ€™s changed a little bit because I know how to study film now,â€ť he said. â€śI know how to prepare myself for what Iâ€™m going to face. I donâ€™t feel as much anxiety as what I used to. But, donâ€™t get me wrong. It stays on my mind.â€ť