Soon after the Washington Redskins finished beating the San Diego Chargers in overtime at home on Nov. 3, workers were busy re-sodding the playing surface at FedEx Field.
The Redskins haven’t played there since. But that will change Monday night, when they host the San Francisco 49ers.
It will be a test of the re-sodded field and of the team’s plan for avoiding a repeat of last season, when the condition of the playing surface was sharply criticized after the Redskins lost a first-round NFC playoff game to the Seattle Seahawks at home on Jan. 6. That’s the game in which quarterback Robert Griffin III re-injured his right knee, necessitating surgery days later, although it is not clear what role — if any — the condition of the field played in Griffin’s injury.
NFL officials said in the offseason that they would take a more active role this season in ensuring that fields at FedEx Field and in other stadiums around the league remained in acceptable condition.
Monday night’s game is the first of three straight home games for the Redskins. The first two of those are nationally televised prime-time games. The Redskins will host the New York Giants on Dec. 1 in a Sunday night game and the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 8. They have only one more home game on this season’s schedule after that, Dec. 22 against the Dallas Cowboys.
“I think everybody is appreciative of the way they changed,” Griffin said at his weekly news conference when asked about the field. “It looks better. Your footing is better. We’ll get to go play some fast, physical football.”