The Washington Redskins were on the practice field yesterday for all of 25 minutes, and as they walked into the dressing room, one front office fixture familiar with the old ways shook his head and said, "Oh, Lord, if George Allen ever saw this, he'd die."
Times have changed at Redskin Park. If it is Tuesday, the players still stiff and sore from Sunday's game, loosen up a bit, correct a few mistakes, walk through some new plays, run some wind sprints and head for the weight room or the showers.
Wednesday through Friday, the players know, they will be on the practice field no longer than two hours.
"We also know we're going to be working real hard those days," said middle linebacker Harold McLinton. "And on Saturday we'll be out for 45 minutes loosening up. Sure, there's a big difference.
"It just seems like when we go into the games we have the strength to compete with the other teams. In the past, there were times you'd be so tired in the second half you'd just try to hold on. Right now, I'm fresh in the fourth quarter. I think everybody will tell you the same thing."
And almost everyone will tell you what a pleasure it is to play for Jack Pardee, the coach, who replaced Allen. "Relaxed" is the word you hear most often at Redskin Park these days as the undefeated Redskins prepare to play the New York Jets Sunday at RFK Stadium.
"Now, relaxed doesn't mean sloppy, either," said linebacker Pete Wysocki. "It means there's much less secrecy; it seems like everybody really knows what's going on. There are no big surprises.
George Allen had his system, it worked for him and I'm not going to knock that system. But it's different this year. When we there was always a fear element. People were always talking about 'the biggest game of our lives.'
"Well, every game is an important game, but in reality every team is not as good as every other team. Jack doesn't approach it the way George did. He points out the weaknesses and the strengths of the other team and lets you go out and be a professional.
"We're not playing well out of a fear of losing, but because we're pros and we want to win. We all think we can win every week. We think we're just as good as any team in the league, and it's important to believe that.
"Now I will say that everything looks good were getting ready for a game in the past because we are undefeated. The real test comes if you're hurt and you have to win four or five in a row. How will some of the younger guys respond? I think they will, but time will tell."
Other players agreed.
'Jack just seems so much more easygoing than George did," said kicker Mark Moseley. "George was always on needles and pins, up tight about everything. That's just the way he was. He was high strung and that's how he won. Sometimes it might have hurt us; gugs might have been too tight. But you can't say that any more."
"I think we're also playing a little looser," added guard Dan Ungent. "In the past it seemed like there was more pressure. Now we're got guys saying let's just go out there and be reckless and not inhibited."
There are other major differences. In the first three games, pardee has shown no hesitation to use second-team players on offense or defense, instead of strictly on the special teams.
"If you have the chance to let those people play it can only help you down the line," Pardee said recently. "It's a long season, and if somebody gets hurt, you want to have somebody in there who's had some game experience so there isn't a dropoff."
"His whole method on defense is to play people based on the situation that's called for," said McLinton. "We have people on the bench who can combat what the other team can do, so he uses them. It's not 'first string' or 'second string.'
"If we've got a guy who's a better pass coverer than I am, then he should be playing."
Added Wysocki: "The way he substitutes is going to help the longevity of the older guys, plus it keeps the young guys interested in practice. If you think you're got a chance to play on Sunday, you're going to work harder.
"With George, we didn't get a chance to play much unless there was an injury, and that kind of scared the younger guys because you really never saw all the plays we should have been during the week.
"It just seems everybody is enthusiastic. Even special teamers are thinking, 'I'm not just a special teamer.' For me, this is the first time in four years I've got my name on the tackle chart for the defense. I'm getting a chance to play my position, and it makes a big difference."
There have been no closed practices this season. Allen regularly locked the doors on reporters from Wednesday to Friday, and occasionally pulled down the shades as well for the Saturday workout.
The practices are closed to the public but if a few fans want to stand on the woods behind the fence and peek in, there is no security man to shoo them away.