SNIDER: Skins must resolve Trent Williams holdout now

Rick Snider
July 26, 2019 - 9:28 am

The opening snap was scary.
The Redskins began training camp on Thursday with an offensive line of left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Wes Martin and center Tony Bergstrom alongside right guard Brandon Scherff and right tackle Morgan Moses.
Uh, is the team planning to go through a handful of injured quarterbacks like last year while not running to the left side?
Left tackle Trent Williams didn’t report and the ripple effect is huge. Flowers is not a left tackle despite extensive experience. He can’t cover outside pass rushers. And so Flowers isn’t getting any reps at his guard role. Instead, Martin, a rookie out of Indiana, has a chance to steal the job if playing well in camp regardless of whether Williams returns.

MORE: When will Trent Williams return?

Meanwhile, Washington can’t extend Scherff’s contract in his final year without impacting Williams’ demands. Nor can they extend Williams without it spilling over to Scherff’s deal. And, both sides know it so chances of wrapping up Scherff before becoming a free agent are jeopardized.
If Williams misses the preseason, the Redskins may want to start veterans Case Keenum or Colt McCoy over rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Left tackles protect passers’ blindside from jarring hits that can lead to serious injuries. Washington has too much invested in Haskins to risk an early injury. (See: Griffin III, Robert.)
The opening practice offered no insight on how the makeshift line might fare. The team doesn’t go full pads for a few days as per NFL rules. But Flowers on the outside is scary.

MORE: Bruce Allen laughs off report about Trent Williams 
The Redskins can’t just throw money at this problem. Williams hasn’t played a full season since 2013. While he’s a very talented player, persistent injuries and age are slowing him down. By 2021, Washington may need to find his replacement rather than extending a then 33-year-old lineman who has missed 16 games over the last five years alone.
Still, Williams has some leverage as Washington has no serious replacement. Geron Christian, a third-rounder last season, comes off an injury despite playing only two games. The fear is Christian may be a bust after poor practices last season. Surely, he’s not a reasonable replacement for Williams. Neither is Flowers. Either Washington entices Williams to end his holdout with added incentives over the next two years or there will be a crippling hole in the line.
If the opening snap was scary, just wait until facing Philadelphia Sept. 8 without Williams. Scary will turn into madness.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks