The Washington Redskins players and coaches this week got a little bit of a head start on their month-plus-long break prior to the start of training camp in Richmond, Va.
Although the team was scheduled to have its third and final day of minicamp practice on Thursday, head coach Jay Gruden instead conducted a morning team meeting and announced he was canceling practice for the day, helping the players start the process of refreshing their minds and their bodies before the 2014 season officially gets underway.
“That’s what being a pro is all about,” Gruden said. “It’s about working not so much in front of your coaches but on your own and hopefully we have the type of guys in this locker room that are going to work hard on their own and hopefully it’ll pay dividends once we come to camp.”
The coaches, meanwhile, will also take advantage of the time away, Gruden said.
“This is a break time for the coaches,” he said. “The assistant coaches will probably go on vacation and spend time with family because once they get back to Richmond, it’s not a lot of time to see their wife and kids. So it’s time for them to get away from football a little bit.”
Gruden, meanwhile, said he’ll primarily stick around the team’s facility in Loudoun County, Va., where he has his first-ever NFL training camp to plan.
But he also has a couple other responsibilities – a new house in the area to get settled into, as well as spending time with his newest grandchild.
“We just moved into a house so we're probably just going to hang out here and get that all situated and try to enjoy the house,” he said. “But I'm going to try to stay here for the most part and try to make sure training camp is getting organized and ready to go. I'm a little paranoid from that regard, but I'll try to get away, go see my new grandkid in Tampa and go from there.”
As for the shape of the franchise heading into the 2014 season, Gruden said he’s been impressed with how the team has gelled as a unit over the past few months.
He said he’s excited to see that develop even more July 24, when training camp practices begin in Richmond.
“I think the thing that I've been most impressed with is I think with the locker room in general – how they're getting along and how they're playing together, working together, you see them in the weight room working out together,” Gruden said. “We haven't had any bickering or any arguing or any fighting so to speak.
“Overall I feel like the team together is coming along great and the unity is where it needs to be at this point and then we when come back to training camp with the knowledge of the system and people knowing one another, hopefully we can take off from there.”