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First Week of Practice Is a Wrap

With the regular season opener against Tampa Bay less than 48 hours away, the Redskins continued to fine-tune preparations on Friday. The team held its fourth practice of the week, with head coach Joe Gibbs giving players a lighter workload than the Wednesday and Thursday sessions.

On Saturday, coaches and players will be in meetings most of the afternoon and then hold a brief walk-through practice before busing to the team hotel near FedExField.

The Redskins open the regular season at FedExField against the Buccaneers. Game time is 1 p.m. ET.

"We're in full-time now," Gibbs said on Friday "From here on out, we have to grade the film from practice [Friday] and tomorrow we go through all of our final work. We'll rewrite the game plan and we'll have our quarterback meetings. Then we'll have our regular meetings and meet again at night."

Said quarterback Mark Brunell: "It was a good work week. Guys worked real hard. We had an extra day of preparation with the Monday practice. The good attitude was there, the hard work was there. I expect us to be at our best."

Praising Special Teams

Gregg Williams helped recruit special teams coach Danny Smith to Washington, so allow him to crow a little bit on the performance of the special teams units in preseason. Smith coached with Williams in Buffalo the last three seasons.

"Our special teams really played well in the preseason," Williams said. "I don't know if a lot of people noticed it as much as it should have been noticed. There was one game where we pinned the opponent six times inside the 20 on kicks. Another game, we had four kicks inside the 20.

"Those are huge. Our special team players and Danny does a very good job of coaching that aspect of field position."

The Redskins have focused on increasing team speed this offseason, particularly among the linebackers and safeties, many of whom will play on special teams coverage units.

Said Williams: "As a former special teams coordinator, I understand the importance of your linebackers being the life in your special teams. Just as your safeties should be able to run, speed linebackers really make your special teams solid."

Brunell on Gibbs' Return

All offseason, players have sensed the positive sentiments from the Washington, D.C., region about Gibbs' return to the Redskins. Some players weren't surprised to learn that a local farm in Leesburg has commemorated Gibbs with an 11-acre cornfield maze with a picture of the Redskins coach and the words "Welcome Back Joe" carved into it.

"It's big," Brunell said. "Coach Gibbs coming back is huge to this area, huge for this organization and huge for this football team. Now we have to go win."

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