About two dozen people who showed up at Dickinson College this morning to watch the Redskin practice session were surprised to find a sign that read: "We're sorry, but practices are closed for the duration of camp. Thank you for your support."
Play time is over. The serious stuff is about to begin, Coach Joe Gibbs said. There are only 26 days until the season opener against Dallas, and you never know. The guy dressed in blue and gray bermuda shorts may be a Cowboy spy.
"We're starting to advance our practices," said Gibbs, explaining his decision to close practices to the public. "We went about as long as we could with them being open."
When asked (half in jest) if he thought a low-flying helicopter was on an enemy spy mission, Gibbs replied, "Somebody was flying overhead, wasn't he? In St. Louis (where Gibbs was an assistant under Don Coryell), Don would have gone crazy if that had happened before a Redskin game."
The Redskins did work on several flashy plays today, a couple of which totally baffled the defensive unit during the 11-on-11 contact drills. The offense is beginning to take on more of Gibbs' personality.
The first deadline for roster cuts is still one week away, and Gibbs said today he will cut "only when I have to (Aug. 18), or when somebody is evidently out of it. There's been nobody like that so far."
Running back, the most crowded position in camp, became a little more populated today when Ricky Claitt, the second-year man from Bethune-Cookman, practiced after missing the last week while suffering from hemorrhoids.
Center Russ Grimm, third-round draft choice from Pittsburgh, also resumed practice today after missing several days with a groin injury. Recovering linebackers Brad Dusek and Larry Kubin participated in noncontact drills for the second day with neither experiencing pain.
Many people have wondered why the Redskins wore their white jerseys at home last week against Kansas City, instead of traditional burgundy. "They just asked me which jerseys I thought we should wear," Gibbs said. "I looked them over and wanted to ear the white shirts at home. But there was no particular reason."