When Trent Williams and the Redskins look across the Georgia Dome field on Sunday, they’ll see a number of familiar faces.
Really familiar faces.
As in, three recent teammates and six assistant coaches from the Shananan Era, including Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator in Washington from 2010-2013.
“We got a lot of guys down there that I used to play with, that we used to go to battle with, guys that I know and call friends and have come to love like friends,” Williams said Wednesday. “It’s going to be weird to see them on an opposing sideline. But at the end of the day, luckily neither (offensive guard Chris Chester nor wide receiver Leonard Hankerson) are lining up across for me. …We’ll talk to those guys after the game when all the dust settles.”
Among the former Redskins are Chester, who started every game for the Redskins from 2011-2014; Hankerson, the Falcons’ new No. 2 wide out who had potential in Washington but struggled to stay healthy and was not re-signed after last season; and wide receiver Nick Williams, who appeared in five games for the Redskins in 2013 but did not make much of an impact. (Former Redskins right tackle Tyler Polumbus was released by the Falcons on Sept. 29.)
There are even more familiar names on the Atlanta coaching staff.
The biggest name, of course, is Shanahan, the 35-year-old son of Mike Shanahan. He's in his first year as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator after a one-year stint in Cleveland.
Asked if he might be able to help the Redskins’ defensive players prepare for Shanahan’s fourth-ranked offense, Williams said: “If they need my insight, then I’m going to offer it. But those guys have [practiced] against that offense for a long time, too, so I’m pretty sure they are a little familiar with it.”
“As far as seeing Kyle, it’s going to be cool to see him, shake his hand, see how he’s doing.”
In addition to Shanahan, there’s also assistant head coach Raheem Morris, the Redskins’ secondary coach from 2012-14, as well as quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur, running backs coach Bobby Turner, offensive line coach Chris Morgan and offensive assistant Mike McDaniel—all assistants under Mike Shanahan.
“Seeing those guys is a good reunion for after the game,” Williams said. “But it’s only really good when you win.”