Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 16, 10 days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Redskins start 2018 preparations

It won’t look much like football, but the Redskins will formally gather at Redskins Park for the first time today as they start voluntary offseason workouts. 

The CBA outlines what can and can’t be done during each part of the program. During Phase One, which starts today, most of the activity is conditioning. Only strength and conditioning coaches can supervise the players on the field or even observe the activities. Per the CBA “no footballs are allowed to be used” and the players can’t wear helmets, just so you don’t think that this phase is getting back to football in any meaningful way. The one exception is that quarterbacks can throw to receivers, but the receivers can’t be covered. 

The coaches can meet with the players for a limited period of time each day during each phase, so they can start to roll out the playbook to Alex Smith and company. 

The first phase lasts two weeks. Then they move on to Phase Two, which starts to look more like football. Coaches can be on the field, supervising drills and individual instruction. They break out the footballs and the offense and defense can line up, but not against each other. They also can’t do any individual drills like one-on-one pass protection or coverage. 

The helmets are left in the lockers for Phase Two. They are broken out in Phase Three, better known as OTAs. There are 10 sessions held between May 22 and June 7. Offense vs. defense drills are permitted, although no “live contact” is permitted. Some teams will push the limits of that loose definition of permissible contract; my observation has been that the Redskins play it safe with minimal contact. 


The first three phases of offseason workouts are voluntary. The CBA goes to great lengths to emphasize that players cannot be penalized in any way for choosing not to attend. Teams can use a carrot to encourage their players to participate via incentive bonuses for attendance at a specified percentage of the sessions. The Redskins have moved away from using those recently and this year none of their players has a workout attendance bonus clause. 

We know that a few Redskins will not be participating in OTAs or any other part of the offseason programs due to injuries. Trent Williams (knee), Morgan Moses (ankles), and Jordan Reed (toe) are out for the offseason program. It would be surprising to see Chris Thompson on the field; expect the team to be cautious with him even though the fractured fibula he suffered in Week 11 likely will be in good enough shape for him to work with the team. 

The one part of the offseason that is mandatory is minicamp. The Redskins will hold that from June 12-14, although it should be noted that Jay Gruden has canceled the final day of minicamp ever since he has been the head coach in Washington. On the field, the rules for minicamp are the same as they are for OTAs. 

After that, the team goes on break until training camp starts. The players will be expected to stay in shape over the six-week vacation. Many will continue to use the facilities at Redskins Park to remain in camp condition, but many others will do it from their home bases and/or vacation spots. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 36
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 101
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 146

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