The Redskins' new head strength and conditioning coach Chad Englehart brings seven years of experience in Washington to a team that already has his trust.
Already hard at work preparing for the coming months ahead down to the minute, the Redskins' new head strength and conditioning coach, Chad Englehart, has barely had time to reflect on accomplishing one of his career goals.
"That's what you work for, to be that head guy," said Englehart, who is entering his eighth NFL season, all of which have come in Washington. "Dream come true."
That kind of familiarity with the organization -- and more importantly with the players -- as an assistant for seven years, has made the transition in taking over for Mike Clark that much smoother.
"I respect every one of these players and I know they respect me," Englehart said. "It's good that I'm here. Jay Gruden thought enough of me to hire me. It's awesome, because I know the guys are ready. I'm not coming in new trying to learn what these guys need. I know what these guys need."
Like Clark, Englehart has experience in Olympic training, and expects to continue the kind of weight lifting regimen that's been implemented over the last couple of years. Both he and Clark share the same general philosophy when it comes to attaining improved strength and explosiveness, but Englehart already has a few changes up his sleeve as he continues to map out the month of April, when players return.
For starters, the Redskins will begin outdoors and on the field, implementing conditioning programs right away.
"They get paid to play football," Englehart said. "Everything we do is an auxiliary for football. They get paid to play football, so we're helping these guys do their job.
"We're going to continue to do everything we've done in the past. There's no secret to training, it's the work you put into it. How you prepare before you get here, the effort you put into it and attitude? You control those things, they're going to be great."
For motivational and aesthetical purposes, Englehart also plans to re-paint the room burgundy and gold (it's painted mostly white right now) with a new team slogan, yet to be confirmed.
Check out images from the Washington Redskins' offense during their twelfth day of Phase 2 offseason workouts at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va
In his current phase, as he works with assistants Jake Sankal (who also works as the team nutritionist) and Kavan Latham, a former Redskins intern that Englehart hired to his staff once he got the job, the trio spends its mornings working with players still rehabbing from season-ending injuries. Then in the afternoons they meet to go over everything they want to accomplish during the first phase of team workouts.
Because of the pre-established trust, Englehart knows he'll be able to tailor a personalized workout routine for each player. Workouts are broken down into three general categories – bigs, combos and skills – based on body types and positions. Englehart will further devise a more specific, customized game plan for each player on the roster.
"Kirk Cousins' program is going to be different than Colt McCoy's. Colt McCoy's is going to be different than Nate Sudfeld. Everybody's got a program," he said. "For the bigs, the combos, the skills, it's similar workouts, but the main thing is there's going to be different correctives for each player based on what they need and how they move, based on previous injuries."
Englehart has been extremely impressed with how those injured players have been responding and communicating about their recoveries so far. Safety DeAngelo Hall, down in Atlanta, and linebacker Houston Bates, staying Louisiana right now, keep him updated on their progress after suffering torn ACL's last year.
Those who come for treatment at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park – Kedric Golston, Martrell Spaight, Will Compton and Niles Paul – have all been rapidly progressing from their various stints on the injured list in 2016, too.
Englehart admits that he will never be able to prevent injuries that occur from hard-hitting contact, often made by helmets. Instead, his goal is to make an athlete his absolute strongest in order to curtail the more manageable soft tissue injuries.
"I think the training staff and the strength staff, when we work together I think we can absolutely prevent it," Englehart said. "It's on the player's side, too. It's how they take care of their body outside the building as well. Am I eating properly and am I hydrating properly? It all goes back to how you prepare. Three things you can control; how you prepare, your effort and your attitude. So how are you going to prepare for Wednesday morning's lift. After you leave the building on Tuesday, are you going to eat bad, drink or do something you're not supposed to be doing, which will all have an impact on Wednesday's lift? I always tell the players accountability and communication."
In other words, Englehart is promoting a symbiotic relationship, where the trust, already in place, can continue to grow.
"I respect what they do, every single one of these guys," Englehart said. "Sometimes they are going to piss me off but I'm still going to respect them. It's a partnership and you want to make sure that you're working for each other. We are all here to win. When we win, we all win, and when we lose, we all lose. They understand how important it is for everybody. Football coaches to cooks downstairs to maintenance people, it doesn't matter. They know if we win, we all win."