It will be difficult on the Redskins to not have Trent Williams on the field over the next month, but the team still views him as a very important piece to their long-term puzzle.
The Washington Redskins will certainly miss Trent Williams' presence over the next four games as he serves a suspension, but the coaching staff and his teammates remain in his corner.
"Had a talk with Trent, discussed the situation, what happened, how it happened, and we'll keep that between us," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Monday. "But we stand behind Trent and we know that he's going to be a big help for us when he becomes eligible."
Gruden added that the team hates to "lose a player of that magnitude any way, shape or form," but the Redskins must face the reality that Williams will not be able to play for the team's next four games.
During Williams' absence, the Redskins will rely on 31-year-old Ty Nsekhe as the starting left tackle.
"It's going to have an effect on our football team," Gruden admitted. "But, like I said, I have faith in Ty and I have faith that in four weeks Trent will be back ready to go."
Gruden added that Williams' suspension has no impact on his status as one of the team's leaders, pointing to the guidance he's provided some of the team's younger offensive linemen as proof of his leadership.
"People can take it a lot of different ways but Trent's done a lot for this football team, for this franchise, and he's done a lot for the young guys in this building," Gruden said. "The development of a lot of our young, key players – Morgan Moses, Brandon Scherff, Spencer Long – he's been an integral part of that development so it doesn't have any effect what so ever on his captain [status] in my mind."
While Williams won't be able to practice over the next four weeks, he is permitted to be at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudon County, Va.
The three-time Pro Bowler can still work out and be in team meetings, which will be a big help to the rest of the offensive linemen as they prepare for some of the league's most aggressive defenses over the next few weeks.
"Being able to work with him for the last couple years for me has been real big," Moses said. "He's not just a leader or a captain we're losing, we're losing a hell of a football player as well. He'll be able to be around the building, around us. We were talking earlier about Minnesota's defense together because we played them a couple years ago. So he's still going to be able to be here to help us, he's still part of this team. Like I said, it's our job as his teammates and friends to stick with him through this tough little time and we'll get him back."
Moses isn't alone in that sentiment.
Nsekhe said that regardless of Williams' absence in game settings, he'll remain someone the Texas State product relies on for help.
"That's my guy," Neskhe said. "He's given me some advice – right now just dealing with you guys. Put my head down [and] keep grinding. … You feel some type of way, but at the end of the day, I've got a job to do, so continue to do what I've been doing."