Think the Redskins' voluntary off-season workouts, which began on Monday, aren't very important?
Well, think back to last season, in Week 12, just after the Redskins had lost 23-17 to the San Diego Chargers. The overtime loss dropped the Redskins' record to 5-6 and put the team's playoff aspirations in jeopardy.
Head coach Joe Gibbs called a veterans-only meeting. Among veterans such as Ray Brown, Jon Jansen and Phillip Daniels, the topic turned to all of the hard work players put in during the offseason.
Said Gibbs: "The one thing that Ray Brown said to me that I'll always remember was, 'Hey, Coach, we're upset. We worked extremely hard in the offseason. We feel like we paid a price. It looks like it's not coming out the way we wanted it to. It's not being honored.'
"We had a talk about that. I think that drove this football team to make the playoffs--the fact that guys made a big commitment. They were here. It was one of the best attended off-seasons probably in all of sports. Knowing that no one had worked harder or had better participation gave them confidence to turn it around."
Monday, it began again, for the 2007 season.
Players were back at Redskins Park for off-season workouts, strength training and conditioning under the guidance of head strength and conditioning coach John Hastings and assistants Bobby Crumpler and Tony Spinosa.
The team reported 98 percent participation from the players. Those not on hand were excused by coaches due to prior engagements.
"We were very eager to get the players back here to Redskins Park and they did not let us down," Hastings said. "Not only was participation fantastic, the attitude and intensity of the players was very good to see. You could tell this was a playoff team last year that wants to get back to work."
Players began the morning with testing and evaluation, followed by workouts and drills.
Said linebacker Khary Campbell: "I knew I would be in for some hard work with John being in charge. He gets real creative with some of the things he does and he always keeps you on your toes."
Campbell, a 6-3, 232-pounder, said he participated in a series of workouts that included, among other things, "medicine ball chops, one-legged lunges and one-arm benches."
"I was going through each station and doing my best to keep up," Campbell said. "John really works you."
Cornerback Ade Jimoh said he looked forward to being around his teammates again in the coming weeks. Monday was the first day that the Redskins had been together as a group since mid-January, shortly after the team's playoff run ended.
"It was good to see the guys and talk," Jimoh said.
As for workouts, Jimoh said: It was mostly a lifting day, so we focused on our upper body and worked our abs. It just kind of got us back into the swing of things."
-- REDSKINS GARNER COMPENSATORY PICK
The Redskins were awarded a seventh-round draft pick by the NFL on Monday under the league's compensatory draft pick system. The pick will be the 250th overall in the NFL Draft, scheduled for April 29-30.
In total, the NFL awarded 32 compensatory picks to supplement the 223 choices in the draft.
Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better free agents than it acquires in a year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors.
The Redskins were one of three clubs this year, along with Buffalo and Seattle, to receive a compensatory pick even though they did not suffer a net loss of compensatory free agents. Under the formula, the compensatory free agents those teams lost were ranked higher than the ones signed.
In 2005, the Redskins lost linebacker Antonio Pierce and cornerback Fred Smoot in free agency. The team signed a pair of free agents in center Casey Rabach and wide receiver David Patten.
-- CAMPBELL GLAD TO BE BACK
The Redskins certainly made a splash in free agency this month, but perhaps one of the more underrated signings was the decision to bring back Khary Campbell.
Campbell is one of the leaders on special teams. He led the Redskins in special teams tackles last season with 34 and saw reserve duty at linebacker.
Campbell entered the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. He re-signed with the club on March 13.
"I was very happy to re-sign here," he said. "I wanted to stay here. I had being a Redskin in my mind going into the offseason. Everyone here worked real hard to bring me back and I really appreciated it. Now I just want to move on and do great things this season for the whole team."