Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder last year ordered the construction of an indoor practice facility for his team, and this past spring, coach Mike Shanahan & the players held their first session inside the new bubble.
The availability of the facility means that on bad weather days, the team no longer has to o head to a nearby gym to prepare for upcoming games on basketball courts, in sneakers.
The bubble will help in another way this week. With the Redskins set to open the season Sunday inside the Superdome, the team can practice under more realistic simulated circumstances than in years past.
In the past, the Redskins would blast crowd noise at their practices in preparation for road games. But the sound was never trapped indoors. There has been a noticeable difference during this week’s practices, players say.
“The noise bounces off the walls, off the ceiling. Makes it harder to hear,” defensive end Stephen Bowen said. “Even on defense, I couldn’t hardly hear different calls we were making.”
Bowen and his teammates believe practicing in those conditions will make a difference when the Redskins take the field Sunday in New Orleans.
“It’s extremely important. You really have to pay attention to the ball and know your assignments at the same time,” said outside linebacker Brian Orakpo. “You have to pay attention to the guy next to you. So, the music and crowd noise we have in the bubble really helps us a lot. It’s going to give us an advantage over years when we weren’t capable of preparing this way.”