© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a half-dozen years since Trent Williams was coached by Kyle Shanahan, but the level of comfort between the two hasn’t changed, according to Williams, who held his opening press conference as a member of the San Francisco 49ers virtually on Thursday. He addressed everything from his situation with the Redskins, to his health, to taking over from Joe Staley and fitting in with the 49ers’ scheme.
For his part, Williams said the year off from football has been tremendous. It’s exactly what should be expected from an All-Pro, athletic freak left tackle who made seven-straight Pro Bowls before sitting out last season due to his trade request and dispute with the Washington Redskins. A free year off for that type of player maybe should have upped his price on the market.
He’s still capable of squatting 585 pounds and looking skill-position light on his feet.
— Mark Willard (@Mark_T_Willard) April 29, 2020
“It’s crazy being 31, I feel like I’m 25 again,” Williams said. “This is my first year off of football since the second grade, so I mean it’s like 20, 25, years of straight football every August, my body hasn’t had a chance to rest. It’s had a chance to heal and you know, I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a position where I didn’t really feel the ache or the pain, just going through offseason training, so I feel rejuvenated to say the least.”
Williams said he “watched almost every 49ers game this past season,” and knows the offense inside-and-out. In effect, it’s an evolution of what Shanahan ran with the Redskins.
“I think the reason I was drafted to Washington is the way that me and this offense kind of marry up with my skill set,” Williams said. “So I think that’s still the same. I think it’s a hand-in-glove fit, and obviously I kind of know this offense like the back of my hand.”
While he’s known for his athleticism, Williams said he had that reputation because he relied on being athletic as a younger player. With added experience, he spoke to the fact that he enters each game with a plan, and can rely more on his technique.
To be clear though, he can still very much flatten another man.
“I can move just about anybody anywhere I want to.”
One of the more, less-than-tangible questions, is how Williams will replace Joe Staley in the locker room. Short answer: he won’t. Williams said he’s a fairly understated guy who speaks with what he does on the field.
He respects what Staley has done, and that he has his own legacy.
“His legacy is his legacy, and I have my own and I got to work on mine and I feel like me, being the best me is doing the best I can do to kind of carry that torch,” Williams said. “So that’s all I can really focus on, but you don’t replace a guy like Joe. He’s one of those guys that you just kind of get used to not being there, that takes some time. Just not having that face in the locker room takes some getting used to, but you don’t really so-to-say replace him, you just kind of learn to live without him. And hopefully I can just make that a little easier.”