The Washington Redskins on Monday held their first day of voluntary offseason workouts, getting their initial chance to gel as a team for the 2015 season.
For about 80 Washington Redskins players – not to mention an entire staff of coaches and front office personnel – there was certainly that "first day of school" feeling Monday at the team's Loudoun County, Va., facility.
Check out images from the Washington Redskins' first day of Phase 1 offseason workouts at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
The club held its first day of voluntary offseason workouts, officially marking the beginning of the 2015 season for a team looking to gel over the next few months heading into the regular season opener.
"You walk around the building and there's a lot of guys that you know – your offensive linemen, starters, your primary backups – and then you see all these new faces, so it's a great process of getting to know each other," Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III said. "It was great."
Monday saw the kickoff of Phase 1 of the team's voluntary offseason workouts, in which the Redskins have two weeks of strength and conditioning workouts, physical rehabilitation and team meetings.
During that span, the team is being led by first-year head strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark, who spent the offseason transitioning the weight room to fit his Olympic-styled approach, in which most of the machines and benches are removed in favor of more space so, as Clark puts it, players can "train dynamically on their feet."
Fullback Darrel Young said he appreciates Clark's "old-school" approach to strength and conditioning.
"Everyone is buying in, and that's what you need," Young said Monday in a conference call with local media members. "His philosophies, the kinds of lifts that we do as opposed to not using machines, it's more free weights. We're doing stuff to kind of benefit every position and not just cater to what you do."
Young, who is entering his seventh year in the league, said even the veterans were picking up quite a bit of new material Monday under Clark's guidance.
"I thought I had the proper technique for squats down, but he's showing me something a little different, and I feel better," Young said. "[It's] just different teaching things and different stuff that he's been around."
Keenan Robinson – who blossomed last season into one of the team's starting middle linebackers – said the message he received Monday from Clark and the rest of the coaching staff far extended beyond getting in shape.
"The key word that I took away is hard work and team camaraderie and that's what we got to build in order to be successful," Robinson said. "We got to build team camaraderie, build the strength, build the toughness, build that endurance, build everything that we need to be able to do our parts on the field."
Robinson said the strong turnout to Monday's first day of voluntary workouts is an indicator that "everybody is committed."
"That's the first thing you take away is that everybody's committed to fixing this issue that we had last year and the year before of not winning enough games," he said. "I want to be a part of the solution and help win some games, so I'm sure they wanted to, as well.
"So that's why everybody showed up here today," he continued, "to see what Coach Gruden had to say, meet the new coaches, meet the new strength and conditioning staff, see what the expectations will be and then build upon that as the offseason goes on and as we continue to move into different phases – as we continue to move into OTAs and closer to training camp – we'll continue to build upon that and get better and grow closer."
Griffin III, who in February was named the team's starting quarterback heading into the offseason, said he made sure to set the tone at the end of Monday's workout – that "we understand what happened last year and how we underachieved and it was unacceptable."
"I brought them up at the end and told them just that and that it all starts with me. I promised them that I'd be better and that I need the same coming out of them, and that's what this offseason program is all about," Griffin III said. "It's for us to come together and bond. We lift. We meet a little bit, but it's really for us to get to know each other and to know that I got your back no matter what. That's what we're building."