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For Redskins, Almost Time to Go 'Camping'

After weeks of quietude at Redskins Park, coaches and players returned this week for three days of practices starting Monday.

The bustle of activity, the preparations for training camp...it all signals the beginning of another NFL season.

With Joe Gibbs back at the helm, taking over as Redskins head coach back in January, this season has become one of great anticipation.

By Wednesday afternoon, the team had concluded three days of closed practice sessions.

Players have Thursday off and must report to training camp headquarters--the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Va.--on Friday. Training camp officially gets underway on Saturday, July 31, at 9 a.m. with the first open practice.

On Wednesday, head coach Joe Gibbs continued to praise the team's attitude and work ethic.

"We've had real good work," Gibbs said. "We obviously didn't have all of our lineman here, but we had real good work--matter of fact, most of our linemen wound up coming in anyway.

"We've accomplished a lot [the last three days]. We weren't in full pads, we were in shoulder pads and helmets. We're going to take a couple of days off now and come back ready to go."

The team had a scare during Wednesday's practice when rookie safety Sean Taylor suffered a right knee injury while defending a pass. The injury does not appear to be serious, Gibbs said.

Players seemed ready to increase their intensity level and begin preparations for the regular season.

"We're really looking forward to this one," cornerback Fred Smoot said. "In my three-year tenure here, we haven't looked forward to camp like this before, but this one we're looking forward to because we're excited about Coach Gibbs.

"We're ready to win. It takes a good training camp to win in late January."

Added tight end Walter Rasby: "From the head coach on, the atmosphere here has been great. You can't ask for a better atmosphere, as far as the positive attitude of the team.

"Everybody comes in here energized and just ready to go. This is my 11th year and this might be the best atmosphere I've ever been around."

This is the second year in a row and third time in the last five years that training camp will be held at Redskins Park.

Players will again be housed at NCC and bused to Redskins Park just a few miles away. NCC is off limits to the public and media.

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