Knowing nothing about the financial or team-building or training or marketing results of this initial training camp in Richmond, I can say for 100 percent sure that the Redskins fan energy, goofy photos, player tweets and local restaurant menu items have been far more interesting this summer than in training camps past.
And as someone who grew up in the shadows of Bills training camp — I could see the team’s golf carts from my back yard — I’ve always thought there was something good and just about holding training camp on the road.
Anyhow, GM Bruce Allen was on ESPN 980’s “Inside the Locker Room” Monday afternoon, and Rick “Doc” Walker began by talking about how being in the team’s Richmond facility reminded him of when Redskins Park was the envy of the league. (Audio here.)
“I think we have something here that will set the trend – very much like what you’re saying,” Allen agreed. “The first Redskins Park, within 15 years every team in the league copied it. And I think we have a training camp setting — in the inner city, in your home base — that other teams ought to follow and try to duplicate in the future.”
Brian Mitchell then chimed in, extolling the benefits of training camp on the road in building team camaraderie, which is what people say every time a team hits the road. (If a team stays home, they extol the benefits of comfort and familiarity.)
“Coach Shanahan and I agree 100 percent with you,” Allen said. “Maybe because we’re older-school type people. I’ve always been accustomed to going away to camp, whether it was as a ballboy or the Raiders or with Tampa. And there is a special chemistry that you only can get when you go away for camp.
“And not only was it important for our team to do that – and we’re fortunate to have some great veteran leadership with a lot of young players – but Redskins Park is having some major infrastructure changes there as well,” Allen continued. “We’re improving the locker room, the training room and the dining area, and improving the meeting rooms at Redskins Park, so we needed to be away from there while they did construction. And it’s going to save our football fields when we come back, because the hardest thing on a football field is when 90 guys are doing two-a-days on it. And so our three fields there are going to be in excellent shape when we come back.”
Finally, Scott Jackson asked Allen whether he gets concerned hearing players talk about this team’s massive potential, especially with the cross-town example of the Nats as a cautionary tale. This could have been interesting, in theory, but for Allen’s steadfast refusal to veer away from the script.
“No,” Allen said, to the question of whether he’s concerned. “Because it’s gonna come down to our division. Every team in this division can beat the other team, and we respect that. The key right now is to have a good afternoon practice, try to get better today, and then we’ll take tomorrow when it comes.”
Also, he ate dinner at someplace called Roxy Cafe on Monday night. As seen above.