Redskins left tackle Trent Williams knows it’s his responsibility to take care of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.
But that extends to his off-field responsbility as well, and coming from Williams, that’s revealing.
Williams told ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano that being suspended the final four games of last season opened his eyes, and made him realize how important it is for him to be more accountable.
“Everybody knows the great things he can do,” Williams said of Griffin. “But no one player makes the offense. It takes all 11, and if we’re not doing our job, he won’t do as well.
“But as long as we’re doing our job and surrounding him with good examples of how to be a pro, he could be one of the best to ever do this.”
That’s a simple enough and typical quote in a team game, but it Williams lives up to his end of the bargain, it takes on added significance.
“You kind of take it for granted until everything is taken away from you and you see how much football is the biggest part of your life,” Williams said of his suspension. “With that gone, the emptiness that you experience is like nothing else.
“It was a tough, tough couple of months for me. It was painful to watch the games, kind of like pouring salt into the wounds, but I had to watch. Just to let myself know what I got myself into.”
The suspension for multiple failed drug tests wasn’t the only thing that frustrated coaches about the talented pass-protector, as lapses of concentration and inconsistent effort were part of the package with the still-23-year-old.
“I expect real big things from Trent,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “Trent is one of the most talented players I’ve ever been; one of the most talented tackles in this league. If Trent is on his technique, he’s going to get bored, because he’s going to be able to just block people. So he’s really got to work on that technique and be consistent, because as an offensive lineman you can dominate a guy for 55 plays out of 60, but if you have five bad plays, the guy you’re going against is going to break the sack record in the NFL.
“If Trent can be good on his technique, he can be a premier guy in this league, and we need him to be.”
If his words carry weight and the suspension truly was a scared-straight moment for him, Griffin and the Redskins stand to benefit.