The conditioning required to sustain a full NFL season was a wake up call for Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Anderson. Feeling like he could have made more of an impact last season, the former Alabama linebacker put his focus this offseason into sculpting his body along with helping improve technique with the help of outside linebackers coach Chad Grimm.
With Grimm turning his attention to help create a turnaround in Anderson's second season, he has already seen strides from Year One to Year Two.
"Any guy that when you get to this level it's all about being the best athlete he can be and he's understood what it takes now to get there is loosening the hips up, stretching his steps out, all kinds of stuff like that," Grimm said. "He's always been great mentally, but he does have a new determined attitude and he's looking to make that kind of impact. He's always been helping this team win games. So it's been exciting with his mindset and how he's been this year."
Grimm suggested to Anderson that he should take up yoga in order to get more fluid with his hips, which impacted his performance during offseason workouts. As the Redskins' minicamp got under way, it was quickly noticeable that the Daphne, Ala., native had slimmed down and was more mobile in his hips.
Having one year under his belt and using the information regarding the adjustments to the NFL given by Grimm, Anderson's focus is utilizing his stamina improvement to create a better campaign in 2018.
"I want to be a better player for this team," Anderson said. "I feel like I wasn't in the shape I needed to be to do a lot of the stuff I needed to do. This year, I'm getting myself ready for that. I'm going to be ready when my number is called, special teams and everything to help this team win."
Growing up in a professional football environment with his father, Russ, being a founding member of the Redskins' "Hogs" offensive line before being elected as a Pro Football Hall of Famer, Grimm understands the adjustments it takes for players entering the NFL. Using what he has seen from personal experience, the former Virginia Tech linebacker has demonstrated what he has personally experienced to Anderson and that has helped him become a better football player both mentally and physically.
Seeing the same changes that other veterans have gone through in the past, Grimm takes those observations and has given Anderson as well as the younger guys those tools to mature as professionals.
"It's something I've seen Preston [Smith] go through," Grimm said. "Every year you see that the older these guys get, the more they mature. Even though they are all pros once they get to this level, you still need to learn how to act, learn and work like one. That's really the biggest thing. He's grown tremendously in that aspect."