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The Redskins and rainy practices

(By Preston Keres - TWP)

For the second time this season, wet weather forced the Redskins to hold an off-site practice Thursday. The last time this happened, the Skins did a workout at a Dulles hangar, and won their subsequent game. That sounds like a World Cup ad, but since media members aren't invited, I can't confirm whether or not Ronaldo was there, playing keep-away with TSA members.

Anyhow, it wasn't always the case that rain was looked at as a bad thing 'round these parts. A whole series of Redskins coaches and players actually seemed to enjoy practicing in the wet stuff. From the archives....

(And yes, the reason I'm sitting in an office looking through our archives is because I don't feel like driving to Ashburn in the rain. I might get wet or something.)

Nov. 1, 1939: Thankful for the day-long rain, Coach Ray Flaherty assembled his Redskins at Griffith Stadium for a long workout yesterday in an attempt to improve his club's handling of a wet ball. It was the Redskins' damaging fumbles with a slippery ball that precipitated their defeat at Milwaukee Sunday, and Flaherty welcomed the opportunity to practice in the rain yesterday on the possibility of wet weather Sunday, when the Philadelphia Eagles invade Griffith Stadium.

Dec. 11, 1943: If the Redskins thought the cold rain of yesterday morning would curtail the practice session they were mistaken, for Coach Dutch Bergman ran the squad through a two-hour workout at Griffith Stadium, sparing only the players who were suffering with colds or injuries. The session was the first workout of the week of any length, and after an hour's defensive drill against Giant plays, Bergman and Turk Edwards led two teams up and down the field, Sammy Baugh running the first stringers, or what's left of them, and George Cafego the second team.

Sept. 14, 1950: Coach Herman Ball of the Redskins doesn't give a hoot if it rains, as predicted, in Baltimore Sunday when the Redskins open their season against the Colts. "Why should I?" he asked as the Redskins sloshed their way through a practice session at American University yesterday. "We've got the best mudder in football in Sammy Baugh."

July 29, 1963: Just about 3 o'clock, today's starting time, a severe electrical storm centered above the Dickinson College field and Coach Bill McPeak wouldn't take his team out. The players were going to work out in the gym but the storm abated and they hit the field shortly after 4.

Oct. 3, 1964: The Redskins found a new place to practice yesterday -- on the asphalt-paved "V.I.P." parking lot adjacent to D.C. Stadium, where they play the Cardinals Sunday. It was raining so hard the players were drenched after a half hour and Coach Bill McPeak called a halt at noon, cautioning them to quickly take a hot shower.

Aug. 5, 1971: Despite the sixth straight day of rain, today's practice was spirited. Tempers flared in a pileup as rookie running back Jesse Taylor collided with linebacker Bob Grant. Tight end Jerry Smith made another spectacular diving catch in the mud.

Oct. 7, 1972: The Washington Redskins closed their practice to the press yesterday for the first time since George Allen came to town, and after the drill was over the coach refused to say who his starting quarterback will be Sunday....Reporters were allowed to enter Redskin Park for a 3:30 p.m. press conference following the practice. Those who arrived early were able to detect the Redskins drilling in the rain.

Sept. 20, 1982: "I purposely practice in the rain, just to get used to it," said Joe Theismann. "I concentrate more and I slow down my movements, just to make sure I handle the snap. Keeping possession and not messing up the snaps become my priority."

Sept. 20, 1982: As it began to rain during the national anthem today, Dexter Manley remembers how wonderful he felt. "It was just a great feeling to see it rain so hard," Manley said...."When that rain came, I made up my mind to play," said Manley, who recovered two fumbles, had a sack and chased Williams all over town. "This is great football weather, all this rain and mud. We're big grownups out there slippin' and slidin' in the mud. And, right, we're getting paid for having all this fun."

Jan. 21, 1984: Although sunny weather is forecast for the weekend, the Redskins practiced for nearly two hours today in a steady rain. "Redskins weather," left tackle Joe Jacoby called it.

Aug. 13, 2004: The Washington Redskins' afternoon session yesterday, scheduled for 90 minutes, was markedly truncated because of a storm. But Coach Joe Gibbs kept his players on the artificial turf field for several minutes, before lightning appeared, so they could get accustomed to the nasty weather often found playing in the NFC East.

The Redskins have considered constructing a bubble at Redskins Park to avoid the inclement weather. However, Gibbs wouldn't consider a bubble. "Never," Gibbs said yesterday. "I don't like bubbles. You play outside. It's an outdoor game. I want to be in the rain because you have a lot of these adverse weather conditions. I don't think there's any other way to get used to that except to be out in it. You need to be out in the heat, rain, snow, sleet -- the whole deal."

Jan. 12, 2006: The Redskins received a dose of Seattle weather yesterday afternoon, when they practiced in soggy conditions. A fog hung over Redskins Park, with rain falling on and off and the temperature around 40 degrees. It has rained for nearly a month in Seattle and there's a 20 percent chance of rain Saturday. Coach Joe Gibbs refuses to have the team practice in a bubble, preferring for players to get acclimated to all possible weather. "This is almost the exact weather we're expecting to have on game day," said Gregg Williams, the assistant head coach for defense. "So that is good."

(By John McDonnell - TWP)

By Dan Steinberg  | October 14, 2010; 11:53 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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That the Redskins don't have an indoor practice facility is embarrassing. For all of his millions, Snyder could build an indoor facility, or get some of his buddies to pony up.

There are HIGH SCHOOLS (and probably Middle Schools) that have better facilities than the Redskins.

Posted by: SavedByZero | October 14, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

lol @ Savedbyzero. Snyder tried to build an indoor practice facility and Joe Gibbs talked him out of it. Gibbs, Buges, and the old heads always wanted to practice in bad weather. Gibbs believed indoor practice facilities didn't help you win--they helped you lose.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 14, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

What is Senor Steinbergo doing on twitter? Can somebody fill me in?

Posted by: GFisher1 | October 14, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I guess there's two ways of looking at it. On one hand you want to get used to playing in bad weather because they certainly won't cancel the game unless there's a hurricane or lightning.

But on the other hand, there's the increased risk of injury to worry about. No use having a million-dollar-plus player slipping and pulling something in practice and missing 2 games.

I'm not sure what the right answer is, really.

Posted by: smshadowman | October 14, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't there a good quote from the Spurrier Er(a|ror) on this subject? As I recall, it started snowing during practice and the Ol' Ball Coach started freaking out because he didn't know what it was...

Posted by: JohnnyRyde | October 14, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

You would think Danny Boy would spring some cash to get a practice facility field that drains water away from it rather than collecting it so they can have a wading pool for the crybaby players.

Then again if he would have a retractable roof built over FedUp Field they could practice over there (and possibly land hosting a Super Bowl). Oh wait, that is the taxpayer paid chip that DC will use to lure the team back into DC.

Posted by: bbmcoachk | October 14, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Translation: Coach Shanny needs to grow pair!

This is east coast football, son! This ain't the soft, cushy AFC West Lingerie Division!

Posted by: iubiquity | October 14, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

PERFECT quotes Dan!!!!

Sammy, Jerry, Dexter, Jacoby (Grimm was too busy wake boarding to give a quote!) yeah, Redskins football!

We don't need no stinkin' sissy bubble!!!!!

Posted by: fr3dmars | October 14, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm starting my own caption contest for the "Soaked Shanny" pic.

My entry - "Gosh dangit, I said to put the bubble over there".

Posted by: jimc93 | October 15, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

That Shanny pic reminds me of those hair restoration commercials. They've always got some dude in a pool or something.

"I'm not only a football coach, i'm a Hairclub For Men client."

Posted by: jimc93 | October 15, 2010 6:27 AM | Report abuse

This is east coast football, son! This ain't the soft, cushy AFC West Lingerie Division


well, mostly. we all know there is only one team in this division that plays under a roof, even if it is retractable. who knows what those pansies in Dallas are doing?

Posted by: vtsquirm1 | October 15, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

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