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Need to Know: Will more physical Redskins camp lead to more wins during the season?

Need to Know: Will more physical Redskins camp lead to more wins during the season?

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on Monday, August 6, three days before the Washington Redskins open up their preseason at New England.

Talking points

The Redskins have ramped up the contact at training camp this year. 

On Saturday, Jay Gruden let the second and third teams go at it full bore for some 11 on 11 series. The starters went full contact for some goal line work. 

In the past, Gruden has stayed away from hard contact and tackling to the ground in training camp out an abundance of caution to prevent injuries. 

And if they did have a hard practice, the pads usually came off the next day. The thinking was similar, staying away from pounding them for two days in a row. 

But, not this weekend. After finishing their physical practice at about 3:30 on Saturday, they were back out in pads Sunday morning at 9:45. The practice was not quite as physical as the one on Saturday, but there was some banging and tackling to the ground. It was hot, and a few players had to get helped off the field to get hydrated. 

Gruden’s training camps have been referred to as Club Jay by some observers because they were relatively soft, at least compared to some teams. The thing is, the plan to keep the team healthy hasn’t really worked. They were the most injured team in the NFL last year, per Football Outsiders. FO’s numbers for previous years have shown that the Redskins injury problems have gone from average to bad under Gruden. 

Will the new approach work? I guess you could look at last year and say it couldn’t get worse

It’s good that nobody has been seriously injured during these last two practices. But that could change at any moment if a key player goes out for an extended period of time because of an injury sustained during practice. Of course, that will lead to some complaining that Gruden is being too hard on his players and that the risk of injury is unacceptably high. 

The thing is, Gruden didn’t go too far in the other direction. The practices are rough but not brutal. Marty Schottenheimer would laugh if someone called them tough. 

How this translates to what really matters—wins and losses when the games count—remains to be seen. They have lost their last five season openers including all four with Gruden in charge. If they can break through and win in Arizona on September 9, it certainly will have been worth it. 

Watercooler wisdom

Of the 53 players who made the Redskins’ first 2017 roster only 15 played in 16 games.

On the record

Trent Williams was asked about the increased level of contact in practice: "You probably have to ask Jay that, but you know it was something we needed, added a different type of competition in practice, you know going full-go. So, we rally every down in the past, so, you know, it did liven the day up a little bit."

Comment: It’s important to have team leaders like Trent buying into the idea that tougher practices are necessary. I don’t know if Gruden talked to Trent and others like D.J. Swearinger beforehand but in any case, it’s good to have Williams on board. 

The agenda

Today: Jay Gruden press conference 9:30; Training camp practice 9:45; Walkthrough 4:40; players available after both practices

Upcoming: Preseason opener Redskins @ Patriots (Aug. 9) 3 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 26 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 34 days

Trending on social

I later retweeted this with a note that Harris makes a spectacular catch like this nearly every day. 

In case you missed it

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

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This Washington Red Wolves design would be an easy transition from Washington Football Team

This Washington Red Wolves design would be an easy transition from Washington Football Team

There's no shortage of Washington Red Wolves concepts out there, and considering it's the overwhelming fan favorite for the Washington Football Team's next name, are we really surprised?

The common theme of some of these Red Wolves designs is that they aren't exactly practical. Yeah, they're really cool, but are they something an NFL franchise would adopt, or is it something you'd only use in Madden? 

One of the latest Red Wolves concepts doesn't fall under that umbrella, and it might be most realistic option we've seen, especially when you consider the team's rebranding to Washington Football team. 

This design combines the wolf with the "W" in the logo, and while it's not exactly the team's new "W" logo, it could be easily modified. Then the uniforms don't veer too far away from what the team already has. 

"The logo also features two stripes going across the top of the letter, which symbolizes the two stripes on the D.C. flag," designer Matthew Harvey said. "The logo is to embrace the name of the red wolf as a fierce animal, as well as pay tribute in the style to the "Red Wolves" military helicopters. The logo, I feel, captures the feeling of both military and animal in this design.

RELATED: IS DC FOOTBALL CLUB THE SLIGHT, BUT NEEDED CHANGE IN WASHINGTON?

There appears to be a disconnect between Red Wolves fans and the field when it comes to the team's new name. Red Wolves hysteria has grown so big they reject every option that isn't their own, while those not in favor of it fear it's a bit too unorthodox. 

This design may be able to bring those two sides together, and while the fans won't have the final say in the team's permanent name, a united fanbase would be harder to ignore. 

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Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tests positive for coronavirus

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tests positive for coronavirus

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has tested positive for coronavirus, the team confirmed on Sunday. Pederson is currently asymptomatic and following the established protocol which includes a self-quarantine.

Pederson is the second NFL head coach to contract the virus, as New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton shared that he tested positive back in March. 

Positive tests throughout the league come as no surprise as the pandemic continues on and players and staff begin to report to training camp. The situation around the league is a reminder of the health and safety risks that come with football restarting.

RELATED: REPORT: NFL PLAYERS MUST DECIDE TO OPT OUT OR NOT BY AUG. 5

Players and coaches are aware of that, and many have already announced that they are opting out of the 2020 NFL season. In Washington, Caleb Brantley is the only member of the roster to have removed himself from the campaign so far.

By Wednesday, August 5, all players will reportedly have to decide whether or not they will participate in the season as the league has set an opt-out deadline for that day. With 40 or so players already withdrawing and COVID-19 not going away in the near future, that number is likely to increase.

Though the NFL is working hard to put the proper protocols in place, the results from initial tests show that challenges remain. 

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