Wild In The Streets
(The first person to email me with the musical reference in the headline wins my unending respect.)
I have seen my share of wacky stuff in five seasons on this beat - from people with their cars covered with Redskins logos and autographs to a large dude whose entire body was covered with Skins-related tattoos.
But today took the cake.
It was bedlam out here at The Park. Obviously Coach Joe taking a walk hasn't done anything to quell the enthusiasm of you guys. It was like a scene out of Woodstock all along the Loudoun County Parkway. First of all, it took a good 90 minutes just to nudge up the Parkway from the tollroad exit to the entrance to Redskins Park. After a while people were just abandoning their vehicles anywhere and making a run for it.
Seriously, they would just find a grassy patch off to the side of the Parkway, dump the car, and start the long walk in the afternoon heat. It was nuts. Waxpool Road was jammed up all the way in every direction. Route 7 was chaos, Jason Reid reports. There was nowhere to run, baby; nowhere to hide. Some people gave up and ended up jumping the median and retreated back to the toll road in the opposite direction.
At one point around 12:45 or so - sitting in the Jetta of my discontent, as it slowly began to overheat - I heard someone screaming at me from the left lane. Well, actually I "felt" someone yelling at me (you know how you just kind of sense that someone is trying to get your attention from just beyond your peripheral vision?). Instantly, I braced for a brick or something to come flying through my window (partly a reflex of growing up in Baltimore City; partly a function of the fact that, well, believe it or not, some people out there aren't necessarily fans of mine).
Turns out it was just Caps GM George McPhee, having a little fun with me. George had the right idea - he immediately darted down a left-turn only lane, finagled his way up in the line - and was able to get here in time to see the scrimmage (he was a guest of Vinny Cerrato's). Inside the Park it was just a mass of humanity. There was nowhere to move out on the hill where most people stood.
Ten people needed to be treated for heat-relating issues- though nothing major and all were able to be treated on site, the team said - and 28,000 came through, according to the team. Not sure how precise that number is, but I can tell you that the lines to get in this place were monstrous well after that figure was announced, so if anything it might be too low.
Even as I write this now, essentially out of things to say, pretty much just rambling now, I figure I keep going for a while because I fear what the streets will look like out there. I'm getting traffic-phobic. Maybe they need to go back to doing that scrimmage with the Ravens at FedEx or in Baltimore, because this place lacks the infrastructure to handle a crowd like this. There was not a police officer in sight - although there is never a lack of them around the building to provide an escort to the buses even if they are just going a few miles down the road - and no degree of oversight, as virtually every traffic law was disregarded in the vicinity of The Park.
As for the scrimmage, well, it was what it was. Most of the starters on defense were held out, the offense had a nice drive, but overall Zorn wanted more, more, more. More pace. More efficiency. More, er, better execution. We're still in the fledgling stages of this training camp, to say nothing of the season, though, so you won't be reading any sweeping conclusions or proclamations from me any time soon.
Even next weekend, with the preseason opener, it's going to be Back-up City. The big guns won't play much, if at all, and the third and fourth games are where we'll get the best look at how things are going. But I have a pretty good idea that the crowd out here today is gonna top what some teams get for a real preseason game.
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