Perfectly wet. That's how Redskins coaches and players felt about practicing for two hours in a cold, steady drizzle on Wednesday. What better way to replicate the setting for this Saturday's Divisional Playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks?
It has rained most of the week in the Seattle area and weather conditions for Saturday's Redskins-Seahawks game call for more of the same: showers, highs in the upper 40s and lows in the upper 30s.
During Wednesday's practice, Mark Brunell, the running backs and wide receivers got used to gripping and catching a wet football. Players adjusted to wearing specialized cleats used for wet fields.
If a day spent practicing in wet weather can benefit the team come game day, Redskins coaches and players will gladly take it.
"We've practiced in all kinds of weather," assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. "Today, it's almost exactly the weather that we're expecting to have on game day. That's good."
Brunell played his college football at the University of Washington in Seattle, so he is familiar with playing in rainy conditions. Earlier this year, in a rain-soaked Week 5 game at Denver, Brunell was 30-of-53 for 322 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-19 defeat to the Broncos.
"Mark Brunell is a very good quarterback--as he displayed in Denver--at being able to handle wet footballs," Williams said. "From a defensive perspective, you always like playing in the rain and other conditions because it hopefully makes it a little bit better for yourself."
When it comes to playing football, safety Pierson Prioleau doesn't care one bit about the weather conditions.
"You know, we go out to practice every day and if it rains, it's Redskins weather," Prioleau said. "If it doesn't rain, it's Redskins weather. We're a football team that loves to play the game and we don't buy into what Mother Nature puts out there. We don't get to choose that anyway, so we'll just go out and play."
Meantime, wide receiver James Thrash was held out of practice for the second consecutive day. He continues to wear a splint over his fractured thumb that could allow him to play in Saturday's playoff game. He is listed as questionable.
-- PORTIS IS 'HOT STUFF'
Clinton Portis decided not to wear a costume for his weekly media session, but he still had a name for himself: "Hot Stuff."
To explain, the Redskins' running back read a letter from a female admirer--an actress, he said--who asked that Portis not dress up this week.
"You are the most beautiful guy that I've ever seen in my life," the letter apparently read. "Clinton, I would love to see you come out as yourself."
So...no costume this week.
One reporter asked if Portis, by not dressing up, was playing with karma with the team's six-game winning streak. The reporter apparently forgot that Portis did not wear a costume for his Dec. 15 media session, prior to the Redskins' 35-7 win on Dec. 18 over the Dallas Cowboys.
"To come out and hopefully get a win after being myself, that will hopefully take the pressure off," he said. "We don't want to think that the skit is the reason why we've been so successful. I didn't dress up before we played Dallas and we went out and had a spectacular game. We're going to try that again this week."
-- WYNN'S BACK
Defensive end Renaldo Wynn returned to Redskins Park on Wednesday, a few days after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured right forearm. He suffered the season-ending injury in last Saturday's 17-10 playoff win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Wynn said he plans to travel to Seattle with the team. He has been the defensive captain each week during the team's six-game winning streak.
Asked about the injury, Wynn said: "I'm just staying positive. It's an opportunity for someone else to step in. You play this game hard and leave it on the field. You don't think about getting hurt. If it happens, it's just something that happens. It was meant to be. You have to just continue to go for it and hold your head up high."
Wynn pointed to defensive linemen Demetric Evans and Nic Clemons and recently activated linebacker Nick McNeil as players who will have to step up in his absence.
"Whatever way I can be a part of the team, whether it's with morale, leadership or helping guys behind the scenes, then I'm going to do that," Wynn said.
-- ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Despite having never coached at Qwest Field in Seattle, head coach Joe Gibbs sounded familiar with the stadium and the difficulties opposing teams have in playing there.
In comments made earlier this week, Gibbs said: "There's an overhang at the stadium we're going to that traps a lot of noise. They also have a set-up in the end zone that traps noise."
The Redskins have won their last four road games. Gibbs pointed to the Redskins' Week 2 win over Dallas as evidence that his team can play tough on the road.
"When you go to Dallas on Monday night and go through that, then you go to Kansas City and Denver--those are real tough places," he said. "We think we have the best fan base in the world for us. But you go other to other places, there's a lot to put up with. It makes it for a tough environment."
The Redskins will leave for Seattle on Thursday afternoon. Since it's a different time zone, Gibbs said he would allow players to sleep in on Friday morning.