Before the season started, Trent Williams looked at the Redskins' schedule and saw one tough assignment after another.
Dallas's DeMarcus Ware in Week 1 was the focus, of course. After that game, he turned his attention to Houston's Mario Williams, Philadelphia's Trent Cole and Indianapolis's Dwight Freeney, among others.
This week, Williams matches up with Chicago's Julius Peppers, a 5-time Pro Bowler with 83 career sacks heading
Given the elite pass rushers that Williams has faced week after week, he has had grow up quickly in the NFL.
The 22-year-old was the Redskins' first-round pick (fourth overall) in last April's NFL Draft. He was immediately inserted as the starter at left tackle and protector of quarterback Donovan McNabb's blind side.
"I take it day by day, game by game," he said.
Peppers is the latest challenge. With the Carolina Panthers last year, he beat the Redskins for two sacks in a 20-17 win.
Peppers is 6-7, 283 pounds and has unusually long arms that serve him well, Williams said.
"He's a huge edge guy," he said. "He loves to get that edge. With his long arms, you ca have him two or three yards away from the quarterback and he can still swipe at the ball. So that'll be a huge challenge for me."
Last Sunday vs. Indianapolis, Williams held his own against Freeney, who did not record a tackle in the game.
Still, Williams said Freeney is the toughest pass rusher he has faced so far.
"[Freeney] has everything you need to be effective," Williams said. "He has speed, and he is probably the strongest defensive end I've seen so far. And everyone knows about his patented spin move. It was a tough game."
In the first six games of his NFL career, two of which he spent on the sidelines with knee and toe injuries, Williams has seen the best of the best.
"I feel like its preparing me well," he said. "And going up against [Brian Orakpo] as much as I did in preseason prepared me well, too. But each of those pass rushers offer something different they do really well, so it's kind of hard to just say I'm prepared for anybody."
Said McNabb: "He has handled each week very well. I'm excited about the way he has handled it as far as having his confidence. He works very hard in practice and he knows what he's going to face on game day.
"Each week, your backside tackle is going to be faced against Pro Bowl guys – not just every other week, or every two weeks. He knows he's going up against somebody good every game...He has done a great job."