One of the most noticeable absentees from the Washington Redskins’ player-led workouts has been second-year left tackle Trent Williams.
Drafted fourth overall out of Oklahoma last year, Williams joins benched quarterback Donovan McNabb, free-agent-to-be wide receiver Santana Moss and right tackle Jammal Brown (also a free agent) as the only offensive starters who haven’t attended any of the seven offseason practices.
Defensive end Adam Carriker, whose wife gave birth to a child during the offseason, cornerback Carlos Rogers (a free agent), rehabbing strong safety LaRon Landry and newly acquired free safety O.J. Atogwe are the only defensive starters who have not attended the workouts.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Williams said that he has been training with roughly a dozen players in his hometown of Houston. He said he considered attending this week’s workouts, but decided not to go because he was in a wedding last weekend, which would have interfered with travel plans.
“I kind of had my hands tied,” Williams said. “But I figure as long as I’m getting work in and am making sure I’m ready. I’ve been trimming down a little bit, focusing on total body strength, and I started back [doing squats] this offseason, which I hadn’t done since my sophomore year, to get my explosiveness in my legs back. I feel great.”
Redskins attending the workouts say the sessions have helped them shake off the rust and refresh their memory and feel for the playbook.
Williams doesn’t believe he will suffer significantly from passing on the chance to run through plays with his teammates.
“When the lockout’s lifted I’m pretty sure everybody’s going to be rusty,” he said. “I can’t be no rustier than what I was as a rookie last year. I didn’t know any of the playbook then. So I’ll automatically be further along.”
Linebacker London Fletcher and quarterback John Beck -- the players who have assumed leadership roles during the three weeks of group offseason workouts – said they aren’t allowing themselves to worry about no-shows.
“I understand guys have different things going on,” Fletcher said. “We’d love to have everybody here, but that’s not the situation. You just hope and trust that guys are doing the things they need to, to get ready for the season.”
When asked about Williams’ absence, Beck said, “It’d be nice to have as many guys as we could out here, but I’m happy with the guys that are coming out and I feel like we’ve gotten a lot accomplished.”
Tight end Chris Cooley also said he is only concerned about the players in attendance.
“Everyone’s happy with who’s showed up and what we’ve had here,” Cooley said. “Everyone’s been contacted, emailed, texted, called. We set up the opportunity for guys to show up and do what they want to do, and whoever makes it, makes it.”
One player happy for the opportunity to take all the snaps at left tackle is second-year player Selvish Capers, who spent all of last year on the practice squad. Rather than rotating with Williams or watching most of the plays, Capers has gotten extensive work, and describes the opportunity as a big plus.
“Everything helps. It’s good to be out here, getting reps, especially against Orakpo and Rob Jackson and Kerrigan. I’m starting to get a feel. Everything’s rolling,” Capers said. “It’s very important. It’s like a refresher course. Just being out here helps my memory of the plays coming together, so it’s very beneficial.”