Williams wants Redskins’ offensive line to be ‘Hogs 2.0’
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Trent Williams got several of his fellow Washington Redskins offensive linemen to fly to Texas during the offseason. His pitch was pretty good.
Williams wants to harken back to the days of the Redskins’ famous “Hogs” — the offensive linemen of the 1980s and early 1990s who paved the way to three Super Bowls. Williams has branded the 2016 Washington line as “Hogs 2.0,” complete with shirts, hats and the mentality that the group will follow the footsteps of Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby.
The four-time Pro Bowl left tackle hosted a three-day workout at a training facility in Houston attended by starters Morgan Moses, Spencer Long and 10 other linemen. Williams debated the “Hogs 2.0” name because he didn’t want to add extra pressure, but the goal of the workout was to set a goal for a work ethic.
“Not putting the expectation that we plan on being the Hogs, but we’re just showing that respect that we want to play like them and we admire them and we know that’s the standard,” Williams said during the team’s training camp in Richmond, Virginia. “I didn’t want to just bring a bunch of guys together to come and hang out and have beers or whatnot. I told them before they came we were going to work pretty hard. You can’t get in shape in three days, but we were going to put it to the test, see where everybody was, and we were going to (enhance) fellowship at night over dinner.”
Offensive line coach Bill Callahan sees the benefit as twofold: not only did Williams put younger, less experienced linemen through drills and help them with fundamentals, but the group got to bond. For all the extra work Callahan puts linemen through after practices, there’s already the buy-in for voluntarily going to Williams’ event, and the memories from going through it.
Williams said that made the players closer as a group.
“We put the hard work in the bank,” the 28-year-old offensive line leader said. “We did it together. We can go in the locker room and sit and talk about how hard it was to get through it.”
The workouts took place at O Athletik, a new facility Williams owns along with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and others. According to the Houston Chronicle, O Athletik includes a boxing gym, sand pit, indoor artificial turf, a steep man-made hill and underwater treadmills.
“The workouts were really challenging and that helps when you have to rely on each other to push each other through that kind of stuff as an offensive line, because that’s what we do in games,” said Long, who’s competing with Shawn Lauvao to start at left guard.
Tight end Niles Paul didn’t attend this specific workout but said he threw up after Williams put him through the rigors before. He has noticed a marked improvement in the offensive line over the years, with Williams as the guiding force.
Williams, entering his seventh NFL season, sees strides in his teammates even since last year. He missed the first two preseason games with a sore right knee and liked what he saw from backup Ty Nsehke.
“He definitely got a lot better over the offseason,” Williams said Monday. “I think if you watch him closely you can see the improvements. It’s glaring. It (isn’t) anything you would have to search hard for. That’s just a good credit to Ty and the coaching and how he’s received the coaching.”
And it’s a credit to Williams, who has taken a leadership role for the Redskins as a whole, not just on the offensive line. Kirk Cousins carries some of that now as the starting quarterback, but Williams has the seniority and the long-term track record as an elite performer.
“Trent’s one of the guys in the locker room that people gravitate to,” Paul said. “He’s probably the most respected guy in the locker room. His leadership is important out here, and to have him step up and say, ‘Hogs 2.0,’ that’s a big thing, that’s a big deal and he means that.”
NOTES: Coach Jay Gruden said Tuesday he has a “total expectation” rookie WR Josh Doctson will be ready for Week 1 against the Steelers. Doctson still hasn’t practiced with the team because of an Achilles tendon injury. ... Gruden said WR Jamison Crowder hurt his knee in the second preseason game against the Jets and doesn’t know if he’ll be ready to play Friday against Buffalo.