A week into training camp, it could be argued that left tackle Trent Williams has been the best player on the field most days at Redskins Park.Footwork. Speed. Strength. Williams has displayed it all.I feel like Im playing better, he said. But theres always room to improve. I want to be the best, not just better.After missing the final four games last season due to a drug suspension, Williams said he rededicated himself to football in the offseason by focusing on strength and conditioning training. For five days each week from January to April, and again for a month after Junes minicamp, the 24-year-old trained with James Cooper of Accelerated Bodies in Houston. Cooper has also worked with Adrian Peterson and Vince Young, among other NFL players.Its all paying off, Williams said. We did everything, including one leg box jumps. It all makes sense.Its a good thing Williams came prepared because much will be expected from the former fourth overall draft pick, who, to this point, has underachieved during his three season NFL career.Not only is Williams being entrusted to protect the blind side of touted rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, hell have to anchor a maligned offensive line thats already down two starters.Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the preseason after getting his surgically repaired knee scoped on Monday. Right tackle Jammal Brown is nursing an injured hip and is out indefinitely.Whatever dont kill you makes you stronger, he said.Yeah, we got a couple of injuries. But its nothing too serious, we hope. We know Kory will be back in no time. Jammals situation is a little bit unknown. But we cant let that distract us. We still have to handle our business.Williams said hes up to the task.I want to win, he said. I want to keep my quarterback clean. I want to be dominant.
Jay Gruden doesn't always get a lot of attention from national media, which should be considered something of a victory for the Redskins after all of the focus on his predecessor Mike Shanahan.
But looking at Gruden's work over three years, he does deserve some recognition for taking the team from 4-12 his first season to consecutive winning records, including an NFC East title in 2015.
Steven Ruiz, writing for USA TODAY's For The Win, gave the Redskins coach some love in a ranking of all 32 NFL head coaches.
He slotted Gruden at No. 12, above all other NFC East coaches.
Ruiz cites Gruden's unflappability amid personnell and front office changes, as well as his development of Kirk Cousins into a franchise quarterback in a very productive Redskins offense.
MORE REDSKINS: Pair of Redskins rookies could start season on NFI list
Ruiz ranks Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett at No. 16, reasoning that it's not hard to succeed when you pair one of the best offensive lines in the league with superstar rookies Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott.
New York's Ben McAddo and Philadelphia's Doug Pederson rank No. 21 and 26, respectively.
Interestingly, two Redskins offensive coordinators who've since taken head coaching jobs – Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay – fall way behind at No. 29 and 30. Both coaches have been rumored draws for Cousins once he hits free agency in 2018.
Going back to Gruden, he deserves credit beyond giving Cousins the starting QB job. He's become well-liked and respected by Washington's players despite dealing with big-personality additions like DeSean Jackson and Josh Norman.
After the Redskins finished his first season with a 4-12 record, the team rebounded to win the NFC East in 2015 and then narrowly missed the playoffs with an 8-7 record in 2016.
If Cousins plays up to his one-year, $24 million franchise tag, Gruden has a chance to continue building his coaching reputation.
The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2017 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings over the next few weeks.
Today we’re updating the list with the players we ranked from 11-20. Here are some of the players in our latest update:
—A former top pick who has to come through after a rookie season lost to injury.
—Kirk Cousins’ front-side protector.
—Two free agent acquisitions.
—A third-year player in a pivotal season.