Believe it or not, football is back. The Redskins begin training camp Thursday, July 26, at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., officially toasting the start of the 2018 season.
In their sixth year traveling south, the Redskins will lean on the new face of their franchise in quarterback Alex Smith, who looks to get the team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. He'll do so with a strong supporting cast and the confidence of his head coach Jay Gruden, who believes his team is in strong shape after enduring unprecedented injuries last year.
"The most important thing in my mind was to get these guys in great physical shape and I think Chad Englehart and his staff did a great job," Gruden said. "And then Larry Hess and the trainers did a good job getting the guys back, trying to get them back to full health, the guys that were injured. And then I wanted them to learn the system, try to get as much as we could installed. We did a great job of that I think so that when they come to training camp they are ready to roll. And then of course just getting to know each other so they can learn to play together and work together as a team. I think we accomplished what I set out to accomplish."
Fans will have a lot to look forward to this year, starting with the players. Second-round draft pick Derrius Guice has already been a fan favorite during his brief time with the team, and now will get to put on pads and show his skills on the field. Meanwhile, veterans Chris Thompson and Trent Williams, among others, should be back on the field returning from injuries that cut their seasons short.
Some players have already started posting about their anticpiation on social media.
Prior to their second preseason game, the Redskins will also welcome the New York Jets to Richmond for a joint training camp session for three days, from Aug. 12-14. Fans should also note that practices will take place in early in the morning this year, a switch that Gruden hopes will benefit his players' recovery each day. As Gruden has stated, the players know each day is paramount to making impressions and competing to make the roster by the end of the preseason.
"I think they've put themselves in a great situation to hit training camp in great shape," Gruden said. "I think the beauty of this is everybody understands we have more depth here. We're not going to really have time for you to get in shape. You better come in shape and compete for your job and compete to make this roster. Otherwise, we have a lot of guys here that can play, and I think they see that."
When the players and coaches arrived at the Bon Secours Training Center, there was nothing but eager anticipation for the start of training camp conditioning. Assistant coaches, particularly defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, showing their excitement for the start of practice as soon as they got off their bikes and made their way into the entrance.
Players showing visible thrill included D.J. Swearinger Sr., Mason Foster and Colt McCoy as they were walking in the entrance for their sessions.
Make sure to sign up for training camp online at: www.redskins.com/schedule/training-camp/