Gruden tabs Williams, Hall and Hayward as preseason captains

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden, right, made Trent Williams (71) one of his three captains for the preseason. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden, right, made Trent Williams (71) one of his three captains for the preseason. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND – Redskins Coach Jay Gruden selected offensive tackle Trent Williams, cornerback DeAngelo Hall and special teams ace Adam Hayward to serve as the captains of their respective units for the preseason.

Gruden said those players earned those honors because of their bodies of work, and the leadership traits he has observed in them.

Every coach has a different process for the handling of captain selection. Under Mike Shanahan, the Redskins held an annual locker room election for each unit’s captain, and then midway through the season, Shanahan added an extra captain or two. Gruden hasn’t decided how he will handle the process when it comes to the regular season. But entering his first preseason as an NFL head coach, he wanted to name his captains.

“Those are just my picks. That’s my first decision as a head coach, so I chose them,” he said and then laughed. “During the regular season, we’ll decide how it goes after the preseason. We might vote. I haven’t decided yet. But I like the group that i picked already with DeAngelo, Trent and obviously, Adam. Those are the most seasoned guys with the best performances. The body of work, I think has been proven on the field and they’re natural leaders.”

Both Williams and Hall served as captains last season.

Robert Griffin III also served as an offensive captain. London Fletcher, Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen served as defensive captains as well. And Reed Doughty served as special teams captain.

Williams and Hall are well-respected within the locker room, and have also made multiple Pro Bowls. Hayward is in his first season in Washington, but the eighth-year veteran served as special teams captain in Tampa Bay.

Gruden has previously praised Williams’s and Hall’s professionalism and their ability as players.

Speaking on Hayward on Sunday, he said, “When you have a special teams coach like coach [Ben] Kotwica and we are trying to preach the importance of special teams, it’s very important to have players that buy in. Nobody buys in more than Adam. He is a great leader. He makes everybody accountable on the unit. It’s one thing having coaches yell at you all the time but it’s another to have players hold players accountable. That’s what he does and that’s what he is great at. He’s obviously a great special teams player – that’s well-proven and well-documented. But his leadership on that unit is also something that he thrives in.”

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