Rookie head coach Jim Zorn caught people by surprise by choosing not to use one of his allotted mini camps, having no bed check or curfew for rookies during mandatory mini camp and holding no team activities prior to the draft (opting not to evaluate any existing talent within his new system before filling out the roster via the college ranks). The way the Redskins are utilizing their OTA days is unusual too, and a dramatic departure from the way it was done under Coach Joe (that's Nascar Joe Jackson Gibbs for the newcomers out there).
There has definitely been some chatter among players and coaches at Redskins Park about the recently concluded mini-camp/start of OTAs. The Redskins had essentially done nothing all offseason save for the workout program and the quarterbacks throwing some to the receivers, then hit the field for 6 straight days - highly unusual even for the dogdays of training camp - and conducted 8 practices in that span. Again, very unlike the past and how most teams do it.
The Redskins are in general trying to avoid the muscle strains that were so common in 2007, and thus skipping a mini camp and using just 11 OTA days is aimed at limiting the offseason attrition. But it's how Zorn has divided up his sessions that has some puzzled. Clinton Portis, Jason Campbell and Antwaan Randle-El all suffered ouchies during the just completed sessions, and privately some inside the building are wondering if it may have been unwise to stack so many practices together without any respite in between (like rather maybe going 3 straight days, taking a day off, then going 3 more).
Spoke to some veterans who said the number of reps they got overall during the mini camp was not too harsh and about normal, but going for six straight days certainly struck some as odd. Gibbs, as you all remember, was fanatical about the offseason regimen, meeting with players to gauge what made sense to them, altering the program each year, conducting medical studies to see if certain routines seemed to work best to prevent injuries.
Over the last two years of his regime things were cut back in the offseason, and after studying different programs Gibbs and his staff decided that they would never go more than three straight days of OTAs, and wanted to build in at least two recovery days in between those clusters, according to team sources. That philosophy is obviously out the window.
The Cerrato Skins went 6 straight days as we mentioned, and then take a prolonged break from on-field activities, off from May 7 to June 2. However, when they reconvene for the final 8 OTA sessions they will be practicing 8 times in an 11-day span.
The Redskins will practice four days in a row each of the first two weeks in June. In the past the Skins would use 3 OTA days per week for four straight weeks, in the end deciding that Tues-Thurs each week made the most sense. I spoke to officials with other teams that are also using 4 OTA days within a week, but in general those clubs will not go four straight days, instead practicing on consecutive days, then taking a day off, before going twice more to finish the week.
No one way to skin this cat, but the Skins' schedule is unusual, with the large break between sessions, starting as late as they did and for the quantity of practices in a condensed period of time. With so much effort being put into avoid groin and hamstring problems, and given some of the overt depth issues at some positions, the rest of the staff will be watching closely to see how the players come through the next round of OTAs.
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