In some situations, no news is good news. In the Redskins situation with Trent Williams, that's definitely not the case.
On Monday, Washington coach Jay Gruden was asked if there was any update on the holdout that has kept the seven-time Pro Bowler away from the team for most of 2019, including all of training camp and the team's first two preseason games.
"There are no updates whatsoever," Gruden said of Williams' holdout.
That's big trouble.
For the first few months, it seemed like Williams would come back. He was proving a point, showing the organization just how upset he was about a missed diagnosis on his scalp. But then Williams never showed up for training camp, and multiple sources explained Trent was serious about not coming back.
So why is now the time to really be worried? The Redskins will play their third preseason game on Thursday night in Atlanta. That's the important one, the preseason game where coaches really try to play their guys and simulate live action.
Trent won't be there.
"We’re preparing with the guys we have right now. That’s all we can do," Gruden said.
At left tackle, that means second-year pro Geron Christian or newly signed veteran Donald Penn. Neither player comes close to Williams, but barely any NFL tackles do. Williams is elite, his replacements aren't, and that will become more clear than ever in Atlanta.
But beyond Thursday's preseason game, Gruden's body language on Monday revealed a reluctant acceptance that Williams is nowhere close to suiting up in Burgundy and Gold. Early in training camp, Gruden sounded upbeat and optimistic that Williams would return. On Monday, the coach seemed defeated when talking about his left tackle (watch the video above).
"It is what it is right now," Gruden said. "He’s not here so we just have to talk about the people that we have."
In May and June, Trent's holdout seemed abstract. It was happening, but didn't really matter. Real football was so far away.
In July, it became real. Williams never took the field in Richmond, and that was a real sign about the severity of the situation.
On August 20th, with the dress rehearsal third preseason game two days away, Williams is not part of the game plan. He's not even a real thought for the offensive staff.
At the team's practice facility in Ashburn, Williams is a ghost. Unopened boxes sit stacked in front of his locker. There's no music being played, no jerseys being washed, and no big smile creeping out from his prime spot in the corner.
Real football starts in less than a month, and for the Redskins, Trent Williams is not part of the plan. That's a huge problem, and now more than ever, it doesn't seem like it's changing.
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