No practices. No games. No voluntary workouts. No mandatory workouts. No training camp. Trent Williams hasn't attended a single Redskins team event in 2019. Not one. And still he remains on the team.
NFL Network reported on Saturday morning that while the Redskins have gotten plenty of calls about the seven-time Pro Bowler Williams, Washington team president Bruce Allen has no intention to trade the left tackle.
From @gmfb: The #Redskins aren‘t trading Trent Williams this year, despite #Browns GM John Dorsey’s repeated attempts, but there are indications it could happen after the season. pic.twitter.com/yVCFdlQoCH— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 19, 2019
Browns GM John Dorsey publicly admitted this week that he's been calling the Redskins about possibly trading for Williams but that it "takes two to tango." The implication being Allen isn't taking serious part in trade talks, and that coincides with the NFL Network report.
If Allen is intent on waiting until January to trade Williams, the Redskins boss retains that power. Allen makes trades, unilaterally, and whether or not it should be the case, it remains that case. DeAngelo Hall explained on his podcast last month that he didn't expect Williams to be traded until the offseason either. Hall explained that Allen wanted to trade Williams on his own terms, and that won't happen in season.
There could be strategic advantages to holding on to Williams this year too. If Williams doesn't play, and the Redskins trade him in January, that will leave two years on his contract. If Washington traded him now, he would have only the remainder of this season plus the 2020 season to entice bidders. There also are salary cap rollovers available if Williams doesn't play this year and the team moves on in the offseason.
It also seems kind of crazy not to trade Williams now.
If a team needs a tackle, Williams' value won't be as high in January as it is right now. Period. The trade deadline comes on October 29th, and Williams could likely command a large asking price. Dorsey is openly talking about wanting Williams. He wouldn't do that if he didn't mean that.
Allen has made it clear that moving on from Williams now isn't in the cards, but one source inside the Redskins Park headquarters still said he wouldn't be surprised if something happens before the deadline. But what makes that happen?
The offers might need to change.
Think about things in the context of Allen's approach: If the Redskins are close, then players help more than draft picks. If Washington is going to give up one of their best players, or arguably their best player, then Allen might want a star player back in a trade.
Does that offer exist? Is Allen even interested? Those answers aren't clear.
What is clear, however, is that the Redskins made a shift towards accountability. At least that's what's been said.
The team fired Jay Gruden two weeks and moved to interim head coach Bill Callahan. Much of Callahan's message has been about increasing physicality on the field and responsibility off it. For that message to work, how can the team continue to let the Williams situation linger?
Throughout Williams' holdout, Redskins leadership has dismissed the idea of trading Williams. During training camp the word was Williams would not be traded, at all. In fact, Allen said he expected Williams to rejoin the team before the regular season started. Seven games later, no sign of Williams.
After firing Jay Gruden two weeks ago, Allen held a press conference. Asked about trading Williams, Allen replied, "No, not at this time."
Well, last week for the first time Callahan got asked about trading Williams. It's not Callahan's call to make the trade, but the answer sounded different.
"I think you’re always looking to improve your roster by any means," the interim coach said. "Whether you’re acquiring by trade or acquiring it through free agency or obviously guys off the waiver wire, we’re always looking."
Callahan says the Redskins are always looking to improve. That means the question is what justifies improvement to Allen.
Maybe it's not picks. Maybe it's players. The deadline comes in about nine days. Questions will be answered.
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Virginia sits atop the Coastal Division standings after a win over Duke while Virginia Tech remains in the race after a six-overtime thriller over UNC. Maryland dropped another Big Ten game, Navy dominated South Florida and Penn State held on to edge Michigan in the Whiteout.
Here's a recap of the week's local action.
Navy 35, South Florida 3
Navy’s defense completely dominated the Bulls forcing seven punts and one interception. This is the first time since 2013 the Midshipmen have not allowed a touchdown in a game. Navy now has a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2017 and sit one win away from becoming bowl eligible. That’s quite the turnaround for a team than won just three games last year.
The one thing that did not seem to go well for Navy on Saturday was the pass offense. That was something Ken Niumatalolo wanted to add to the offense this year. Quarterback Malcolm Perry attempted only three passes, one was incomplete and the other two were completed...to South Florida.
With three total turnovers on the day, Navy’s turnover margin for the season dropped to minus-3.
Things always get ugly when one team knows what the other wants to do and still can’t stop it. South Florida loaded the box to stop the option and couldn’t. The Bulls even put 11 players in the box and still Navy continued to march up and down the field for a season-high 434 rushing yards.
Virginia Tech 43, North Carolina 41 (6OT)
A Virginia Tech offense that was completely left for dead earlier in the season has really come alive. Quarterback Hendon Hooker who took over as the starter before the game against Miami was credited with the turnaround, but he suffered an injury late in the first half Saturday. Ryan Willis took over initially and completed all three of his pass attempts including one touchdown. Justin Fuente, however, wisely elected to replace Willis with third-string quarterback Quincy Patterson for the second half.
The offense seemingly comes alive with a dual-threat quarterback under center which Willis is not. WIth him in, this offense has a ceiling that likely could not have kept up with North Carolina.
The move paid off as Patterson threw for 54 yards, rushed for another 122 and scored two total touchdowns plus the game-clinching two-point conversion in overtime.
The win incredibly puts Virginia Tech right back in the thick of the ACC Coastal Division race and puts them two wins away from bowl eligibility with five games remaining.
Once again, the Hokies defense was torched giving up 491 yards, 41 points and forcing no turnovers. It’s a good thing the offense has started to figure things out because the defense has not been able to offer much help of late.
You don’t get to six overtimes without some ugliness. Both teams managed 10 points in the first two overtimes, then Hokies kicker Brian Johnson missed a 41-yard field goal in triple overtime giving North Carolina the chance to win. Noah Ruggles, however, missed a 35-yard field goal forcing a fourth overtime.
Virginia Tech stuffed North Carolina for minus-two yards and blocked North Carolina’s field goal. With a chance to redeem himself, Johnson lined up for the 42-yard field goal and the win...and missed again.
Mercifully, the new college overtime rules take kicking out of the equation by the fifth overtime and give each team one play for a two-point conversation. Virginia Tech was stopped in fifth overtime, North Carolina failed in their next two attempts and Patterson finally ended the game in the sixth OT, running the ball in from three yards for the win.
Indiana 34, Maryland 28
With no Anthony McFarland Jr. who was out with a high-ankle sprain, the Terps needed a big game from Javon Leake and he delivered with a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns.
You never want to see a player get injured, but from a purely competitive standpoint, Maryland should have had an advantage when Indiana’s starting quarterback, Michael Penix Jr., was forced out of the game early in the second quarter with an injury. Yet, it still didn’t matter as Maryland’s defense was picked apart by backup Peyton Ramsey.
To be fair, Ramsey was the Hoosiers’ starter last season and lost his job to Penix. He decided to stick with Indiana and was ready when called upon Saturday, completing 20 out of 27 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown.
This marks the second straight week the Terps were beaten by a team playing its backup quarterback. For the game, Maryland gave up 520 total yards including 334 through the air.
Despite their troubles on defense, the Terps still had an opportunity to win this game. With less than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the score 31-28, Maryland got the ball back deep in their own territory. In just one play, however, Leake had the ball stripped and it was recovered by Indiana. The Hoosiers tacked on a field goal, but Maryland got the ball back again with a chance to win, this time down by six. The offense managed to drive the ball to Indiana’s 42, but Tyrrell Pigrome overthrew his receiver for an interception to seal the game. That’s two turnovers late in the fourth quarter when Maryland still could have won the game.
Virginia 48, Duke 14
A Duke offense that had scored 30 points or more in each of its last five games was held to just 14 by Virginia’s defense on Saturday. Only one of those touchdowns was against starters as the second came in the fourth quarter when the backups for both teams came into the game. The Blue Devils had just 166 total yards in those first three quarters.
The win puts the Cavaliers in first place in the Coastal Division at 3-1. Pitt, who Virginia beat to open the season, sits in second at 2-1.
Virginia’s offense remains a one-man show with Bryce Perkins responsible for 152 of Virginia’s 153 yards (111 passing, 42 rushing) in the first half of the game. That cost UVA in its previous two losses and will cost them again this season if Virginia can't find its quarterback some help.
The Cavaliers forced a whopping five turnovers from the Blue Devils on the day and turned those turnovers into 20 points. That’s how a seemingly evenly matched game turned into a 34-point blowout.
Penn State 28, Michigan 21
Quarterback Sean Clifford accounted for all four of Penn State’s touchdowns with three passing touchdowns and one one-yard run. K.J. Hamler was his favorite target and he torched Michigan’s secondary with 108 yards on six catches and two touchdowns.
The NittanyLion’s strength this season has been its defense while Michigan’s offense has struggled to find an identity. They seemed to find it Saturday as they tore through Penn State’s defense for 417 total yards.
What is home-field advantage worth? A heck of a lot. The Whiteout flustered Michigan early on as the Wolverines had to call timeout before their very first snap on offense. The next drive ended when a false start on a third-and-long prevented any chance of Michigan getting the first down.
This loss drops Jim Harbaugh’s record against top-10 teams while at Michigan to 1-10.