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Posted at 11:06 AM ET, 12/16/2010

The Redskins practiced at Lifetime Fitness

By Dan Steinberg

(Photo taken from Chris Horton's Twitter account.)

Back in October, when rain forced the Redskins to hold a second indoor practice at a Dulles hangar, I reviewed the history of the Redskins and rainy practices.

Well, this month, the weather returned. In the first week of December, persistent rain forced the Redskins to hold a practice on the basketball court at Lifetime Fitness in Ashburn. (Actually, two courts with a divider.) Then this week, frozen practice fields forced the Redskins to practice on their turf field at the Park.

"You can't get any traction," Coach Mike Shanahan said. "You go down every play. So the choices were limited."

And snow on Thursday forced the team to change its schedule. They brought out tractors to clear off the turf field, with the grass fields obviously frozen yet again, but eventually decided to head back to a local gym for another indoor session.

These events will, of course, prompt some people to wonder why the team still doesn't have an indoor facility of its own. I'm thinking Shanahan might be one of those people. Here's how he responded to the weather on ESPN 980 last Friday.

"Today was the only day it was a little disappointing on the practice field, because it was icy," Shanahan said. "You could not set your feet. Guys were slipping all over the place. The fields were frozen. The last couple days it was not like that, we've had good practices where we were able to plant our feet. Really two excellent days. Today was as good as we could have under the circumstances, but it was a little bit slick."

He did not sound thrilled, to be frank. When Chris Cooley discussed the trip to Lifetime during a recent appearance on 106.7 The Fan, he said it wasn't always that big of a deal. But still, the fact remains that the team had to travel off site to practice on a fitness center's basketball court.

"It's not terrible to walk through a practice on a Wednesday, because you've just installed your gameplan, so sometimes it's good to walk through stuff," Cooley said. "When you do what we did, we ran a lot more plays. We probably walked through 150 plays. You can't practice full speed that many plays. Granted, it would be better to have an indoor facility -- of course it would -- but what happened was Joe [Gibbs] came, and he didn't want one. It was always Redskins Weather, no matter what it was.

"Again, you've got to practice a couple days, and if there was a situation - there hasn't been this year - where it's pouring every day and you're not gonna go out and practice, then it's probably gonna hurt you a little bit. But at this point in the year, it's so mental. As long as you're in shape and you know what you're gonna do, you can go out and play."

Well, that makes sense. Sort of. But now we're talking about two consecutive practices being mucked up by bad weather, with yet another gym session. I'm guessing the Cowboys aren't having the same issues this week.

By Dan Steinberg  | December 16, 2010; 11:06 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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That's ol'first rate, big money, corporate jet flying Dan Snyder for ya'.

Too cheap to spring for proper practice fields & bubbles and it shows up on Sundays.

Good for Shanahan that he's not keeping this close to the vest. I had no idea this was going on. Wow, no wonder, the team always plays like they just met.

To paraphrase...
"Snyder, you are Ridiculous!!"


Posted by: AtDawnTheySleep | December 16, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

This is football. It was meant to be played outdoors. Too much coddling going on.

The only reason it makes any sense in this situation is because they are going to Dallas where it will be warmer.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 16, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

GoingGoingGone-You may have missed the point. We know it's an outdoor game, the point is that they can't practice properly or effectively on a bad field or on a basketball court or at a fitness center. If Coach Shanahan is pointing out that some practices are good, but with others the field is too slick, don't you think that affects how cohesively the team plays?

It's not about coddling, so many fans complain about McNabb throwing passes in the ground, well don't you think not being able to practice effectively has something to do with that?

The team or rather Snyder needs to spring for a practice bubble-simple as that.

Posted by: AtDawnTheySleep | December 16, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse


What part of "Gibbs didn't want one" do you not understand?

Posted by: CapsNut | December 16, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

They are not doing well when they practice. So why don't they try not practicing and see what happens on Sunday. The worse they can do is lose and they are competent at doing that already , practicing or not.

Posted by: bbmcoachk | December 16, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah well, Shanahan isn't Gibbs. If he wants one-then get it. Obviously, from his comments-getting good practices in is an issue.
Otherwise, Shanahan who doesn't reveal much about anything would not mention it to the press.

The West Coast offense isn't Gibbs' one-back either, I don't have to tell you that it relies on more precision, do I?

Posted by: AtDawnTheySleep | December 16, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"They are not doing well when they practice."
IF they practice, they are stopped by lightning, they are stopped by heavy rains, they are stopped by frozen fields, so it's a matter of IF.

Posted by: AtDawnTheySleep | December 16, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Amazingly, I've appeared to run into the three posters that wish to discount getting good practices in. Wow.

Tell you all what-don't complain about sloppy play then since getting good, effective practices in doesn't matter to you all.

Posted by: AtDawnTheySleep | December 16, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

So you want to coddle millionaire football players even more? The only reason to have domed stadiums is for the fans. Football is meant for the outdoors.

Posted by: PensRule | December 16, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Redskins park is a JV facility. The 2nd most profitable franchise in the NFL and they have worse facilities then JMU. Why do they have an Astro turf field anyway? Are they holding on to it for nostalgic purposes. Did they miss the field turf memo? Ashburn is Forclosureville and they cant find enough space to build a wharehouse with turf? Amature hour.

Posted by: wynnebs | December 16, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Some of you idiots clammor on about it being an outdoor game. Have you seen how many practices they have to cancel or adjust due to heat index and thunderstorms. Days of practice are ruined because they either have to go partial gear or can't go outside. Not to mention training in the offseason. There is reason we suck. Starts with the owner ends with the facilities.

Posted by: wynnebs | December 16, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, wynnebs- I thought I was going crazy-it's amatuerish to have substandard practice facilities.

I mean really, there is no other reason for Redskin's Park to exist other than to store the uniforms and for practicing.

I wonder what the fellas would say if it was found out that the team had to practice at a local high school because they had no weight room.

Would you all still sneer?

Posted by: AtDawnTheySleep | December 16, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

This is crazy- Skins'fans cry, whine, .b.i.t.c.h., moan, bellyache, complain and fall to pieces over the teams' play then get all sanctimonious, sour and smart-mouthed about not needing top notch practice facilities.

Again, don't complain about sloppy play then, if you feel that way.

Posted by: AtDawnTheySleep | December 16, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually pretty suprised by how many posters are complaining this is indicative of our team being soft, and not Snyder spending money in the wrong places. Anyone know how many other teams in the league don't have a practice bubble?

Posted by: Andymr | December 16, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"And snow on Thursday forced the team to change its schedule. They brought out tractors to clear off the turf field, with the grass fields obviously frozen yet again, but eventually decided to head back to a local gym for another indoor session."

I know for a fact that the old Redskin Park turf field was heated so we could practice in the winter. They have what, three grass and one turf field out there and none are heated? (PPP) Poor planning by someone. This is Washington DC not Miami.

It would take a contractor about two weeks in the off season to fix that problem.

Football's a winter sport... If you can't practice in the weather, wheres the home field advantage? Gibbs called it Redskin Weather. Cold, rainy, wet, muddy and nasty out... And it was definity an advantage.

Now the fans are 20 feet back and above the field. Most general admisson seats are nose bleed. What good is that? FedEx field is a joke.

Posted by: mriley0223 | December 16, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Larry Michael thinks the LifeTime Fitness experience is top-notch.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | December 16, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

so if you practice in the bubble all week because of bad weather, how will you know how to respond to playing in bad weather? The last regime to lead a Redskins to the playoffs (scuse me the ONLY Snyder regime to reach the playoffs) didn't see the value in a bubble. But Shanny knows everything about the game of football sooooooooooo...

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 16, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

To add injury to the insult, the Skins turf field is of the old astro turf variety that nobody plays on anymore.

Posted by: nicefellow311 | December 16, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

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