It has been perhaps the most tranquil training camp since George Allen arrived to coach in 1971. There has been only one major injury, not a single eye-popping trade, no extended contract hassles and no raging controversies about who the No. 1 quarterback will be.
And Allen himself insists he has changed as well. "I've tried not to be as intense as I have been in the past," he admitted. "We've had this system for seven years. These guys known what's required, and I understand them.
"So I've tried to relax a little more. Things that bothered me in the past I don't get upset about like I used to. Maybe that will change when the regular season starts. But so far, it's been an excellent preseason. I see a lot of encouraging signs.
"We have a chance to be a better from than we were last year. A lot of that depends on not having any key injuries. We've got a good football team here, and it's up to all of us to produce. I think we can have a great year, and I'm looking forward to it."
The thing Allen is most looking forward to now is the return of Chris Hanburger. It will take another three to five weeks for the linebacker to receiver from his appendicitis operation.
"A lot of things can happen between now and January," said tightened Jean Fugett. "But you look around here at some of the talent and you have to think we've got as good a shot at the Super Bowl as anyone."
"This is the greatest collection of athletes I've ever been associated with," added Jerry Smith. "In camp, these guys have shown great enthusiasm. We've worked hard, and we've enjoyed it. And that's the kind of year I sense it's going to be - 1972, only better."
For Smith, and several other Redskins, it is going to be now or never in 1977. Smith already has announced this will be his final season, and it also may be the last hurrah for people like Billy Kilmer, Ron McDole, Len Hauss, Brig Owens, Hanburger and Pat Fischer.
Allen the master motivator, surely will use that to his advantage during a 14-game schedule that ranks among the softest in the league.
Aside from the four tough games against Eastern Division foes St. Louis and Dallas, the Redskins face only two playoff contenders, Baltimore and Los Angeles.
Although Allen will beat the drums loud and often and insist that "anyone can knock you off," the Redskins should not have much difficulty with the likes of Green Bay, Tampa, Buffalo and Atlanta outside their divison. The Giants and Eagles should not be a factor in the division.
But already. Allen is sounding off on that subject.
"Anyone who says it's easy doesn't know what they're talking about," he said. "Just being in the Eastern Division is tough enough. Hell, St. Louis won 10 games last year and didn't make the playoffs. I don't go for that at all, and the players don't either. We have to be ready to play every week, and we will."
The man who is always ready to play, despite a body suited for nothing more strenuous than nine holes of golf - in a cart - will once again wobble out onto the field and direct a Redskin offense he describes as "potentially the best we've had since 1972."
The speaker, of course, is Billy Kilmer, and as long as he can walk, chew gum and throw passes at the same time, he will be The Man.
Kilmer already has been bothered by a sore arm and a painful knee in training camp, but he and pain go together like love and marriage.For Kilmer, only broken bones are grounds for divorce.
Joe Theismann is still as frisky as ever, and Allen insists the Redskins will need both quarterbacks before it is all over. Theismann gives the Redskins that extra dimension only fresh young legs can provide: a mobile quarterback who can run away from pressure and fire with accuracy on the trot.
Both Theismann and Kilmer will have plenty of opportunities to improve a Redskin passing game that slipped badly a year ago. They will be throwing once again to that grand old man. Charley Taylor, who will break his own receiving record every time he snags a pass.
And with Taylor back, Frank Grant will have a chance to operate without two or three defenders hanging onto his jersey. Grant is always a threat to go deep, as is Larry Jones, the fastest man on the team and an able replacement for either Grant or Taylor.
Despite all the ribbing Jean Fugett gets about his fluctuating waist line, the Redskins all know he can be counted on to come up with the big catch and the crushing block when necessary. Fugett says his goal is to become all-pro this year, a distinct possibility.
The Redskins' running game could be devastating. Mike Thomas has said he plans to gain 1,500 yards this season. And John Riggins, the silent one, is going to carry the ball more often. Kilmer says his ideal game plan includes 20 carries for Thomas, 20 for Riggins and 20 passes.
Allen also has said he plans to use Calvin Hill is healthy enough to handle the work. "I came here to play," he said, "and I still think I can help them. I hope they give me the chance."
The Redskins' offensive line should give all three backs the chance to run. "This is the best line we've had since 1972," Allen said. "We've got depth at every position, we've got depth at every position, we've got youth, we've got experience and we've had great competition. They've got a chance to be better than the 1972 team."
Not even the sudden retirement of veteran guard Paul Laavag, whose previous injuries still were causing him pain, has diminished the coach's enthusiasm for his offense.
Defensively, Allen is not as exuberant.
"Everything is going to depend on how well we perform up front," he said. "We've got to put pressure on the passer. We had goog defense last year, but we're used to outstanding defense, being among the top three in the league. We can do it again."
The same old faces will be trying to grab the quarterback, and a favorite weapon - the head slap - has been declared illegal. That mostly will affect tackle Diron Talbert, a man who has left many an offensive lineman with ringing ears and stars in his eyes. Now he needs a new move.
The Redskins have shown flashes of a potent pass rush in the preseason usually when reserves Dallas Hickman and Karl Lorch are in the game. Both could play significant roles this year if any of the starters falter.
A year ago, Allen compensated for a weak rush by calling for a number of linebacker blitzes. He has said he would prefer to avoid the blitz in 1977 "because it just leaves you vulnerable somewhere else."
The linebackers will remain the same when Hanburger returns: Harold McLinton in the middle, Brad Dusek on the left and Hanburger, the defensive signal caller, on the right. They are seldom flashy, but usually competent.
The Redskins hope special-teams stalwart Stu O'Dell will be able to fill in until Hanburger gets back.
Allen says his secondary will be better because newcomers Joe Lavender and Jake Scott have had a full year under his system. It is hard to imagine the group playing any better than they did in 1976, when they set an NFL record by allowing opponents to complete a measly 41 per cent of their passes.
Pat Fischer's back problem is the injury the Redskins are most concerned about. Even now, one one is sure if he can play this season. If not, look for that completion rate to climb, no matter who replaces him.
The Redskins' biggest problem on defense appears to be speed, or the lack of it. They have been vulnerable in the preseason to runners who can get outside, and they are going tosee many more of those backs. The names Tony Dorsett, Terry Metcalf and O.J. Simpson spring immediately to mind.
Allen says he would like to see Mike Bragg improve his punting and is hoping for improved kickoff coverage. His return men, Eddie Brown on punts and Larry Jones on kickoffs, are among the NFL's best, and fieldgoal kicker Mark Moseley may have the strongest leg in the league.
"We have to play sound football, and not make mistakes and play with enthusiasm," Allen said, repeating the speech he makes every season at this time. So pass the Maalox and let the games begin, for real.