As they prepare for Saturday’s Christmas Eve game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Washington Redskins face a shortened week that has forced Mike Shanahan to tweak the team’s practice schedule.
Under normal circumstances, the Redskins would have had Tuesday as their regular day off and then returned to the practice fields Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The players then would have then gone through a walk-through on Saturday.
But this week, the Redskins had Monday off and will practice Tuesday through Thursday before a walk-through on Friday.
Aside from bumping things up a day, the players’ routine doesn’t change much. But Shanahan and his coaches noticed the change more.
“The only thing different is today we put our full game plan together so for coaches it’s a lot of different,” said Shanahan, who normally installs the game plan with his assistants on Tuesdays. “But for the players, the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday practice, it will be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday but it will be a normal Wednesday, Thursday, Friday routine. So for the players, exactly the same as we normally do. We will try to get the same repetitions in. The same preparation, they just have a day less recovery time.”
In the last two weeks, Shanahan already had modified the daily practice routine slightly.
All season long, the players took the field for a 10 a.m. walk-through, came in at 10:50 a.m. for a meal and meetings, interviews with the media and downtime during “open locker room,” and then practiced beginning at 12:20 p.m. But in the last two weeks, Shanahan has streamlined the schedule.
That meal/interviews/meetings portion of the day has started at 10:35 a.m., and the players have hit the field soon after 11:20 a.m. for the walk-through, and proceeded straight into practice at 12:15 p.m.
Shanahan said the modified schedule helps players remain fresher and cuts an hour off of their work days.
“We are trying to get the same amount of reps in our preparation,” the coach said. “What I try to do is get them out of here. I like to change things up sometimes but not take away from the preparation...A lot of times, we will do it the last four games. Sometimes we will do it the second half of the season. It all depends on the football team – if it’s veteran, more veterans, more rookies, depending on how much time we have to spend. It’s a combination of those things that determines which way we are going to go.”
Shanahan added: “It’s a reward in a way. Anytime you trust the guys that they can get out here a little earlier, you are trying to help them out a little bit and give them a chance to rest up. At the same time, you take a look at a team that’s into the 10th game and you have been going through all those walkthroughs, you say some of the basic stuff we are doing we should have now and so we go through it a little bit quicker.”