ASHBURN - Preseason scheduling often leads to weird practice routines, and the Redskins are in the middle of one. Football players thrive in routines, and with the 'Skins off on Tuesday after an extremely short practice on Monday, Wednesday's practice marked the only practice work Washington will get in Ashburn this week.
Ask players off the record, and they usually agree that practices after off-days tend to be a little sloppy. Wednesday's afternoon session at Redskins Park reinforced that thought, and it got coach Jay Gruden upset.
Late in the session as the sun beat down on the field, a series of false start penalties and poor communication got Gruden mad, and the coach barked out that he would not allow mediocrity. Once the coach yelled, the next series of snaps went much smoother.
"We had some mistakes. We had a couple days off," Gruden said after practice. "We were a little sloppy out there and we just had to get it corrected."
Leaving the field, one Redskins player explained that the practice wasn't too bad, but that Gruden really hates false start penalties. In 2015, the Redskins improved from near last in the league to the Top 10 at number of penalties, so the emphasis worked.
Gruden was not the only coach asking for more from the players, as defensive coordinator Joe Barry repeatedly told his team that the Jets will be ready to play come Friday night ad his unit better be as well.
A sloppy practice in August is not reason for much concern, and may be more of a result of scheduling than anything else. But for Redskins fans, it's good to know Gruden won't tolerate it.
All offseason, Gruden has said that last year was a stepping stone towards improvement, but that his team should remember the playoff loss to the Packers more than any regular season success. Playoff success, to Gruden's point, is far from mediocrity.