Redskins training camp looks completely fresh with Mike Shanahan in charge

The Redskins practice just once Sunday, with coaches calling off the scheduled afternoon session. Once again, Albert Haynesworth does not work in pads.
By Rick Maese
Monday, August 2, 2010

A year ago, large speakers blared music throughout regular season practices. During Washington Redskins training camp, players slept at their own homes. On the field, the head coach spent the majority of his time with the quarterbacks.

Not that anyone needs any more reminders that there's a new sheriff in town, but it took only a few minutes of Mike Shanahan's first training camp in Washington to appreciate just how different things are. The coach oversees everything from afar, often standing alone on the middle of the field. There's no music. And players all retire each night to a nearby hotel.

The practices themselves, through the first four days at least, haven't lacked in tempo or energy.

"I lost, I think, seven pounds today," tight end Chris Cooley said after one grueling morning session over the weekend.

The players wear helmets and pads but not full uniforms. They hit but don't tackle. They know it's a practice but try to envision a game. They'll run football plays rather than run through football drills.

"I know that a lot of teams work on individual drills and tackling and all kinds of things, but we're pros and we should be at the point where we should just run plays," Cooley said. "I think it is the best way for us to mesh as a team."

The Redskins are still learning new schemes on both sides of the ball -- though coaches and players seem pleased with the progress -- but Shanahan doesn't feel the need to cram two tiring practices into a single day.

The first practice each day lasts more than two hours and has kept players steadily moving while mimicking game scenarios.

"They don't have to conserve energy for the afternoon like you do in a normal two-a-days," said offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Players are tired when the morning practice is finished, but when they return to the field in the afternoon, the second session each day is just a "jog-through," an hour-long practice that allows player to move through the motions at a much slower pace.

"I don't think we need a second practice to kill them every day," Mike Shanahan said. "What we need is repetition, to be out there so we can stay on top of our game mentally."

On Sunday, Shanahan canceled that afternoon session, though players were still scheduled to attend meetings into the early evening.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company