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.
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.
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.
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
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I later retweeted this with a note that Harris makes a spectacular catch like this nearly every day.
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- Redskins training camp practice report, Day 9
- More hitting at camp shows the evolution of Jay Gruden
- Starting and long-term goals don't matter to Derrius Guice