It was overcast at Redskins Park on Wednesday, but coaches and players were focused and upbeat as they began on-field preparation for this Saturday's Wild Card playoff matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"It's a short work week, so Wednesday is a big day for us because we only get two work days, really," head coach Joe Gibbs said after practice. "We're going hard and we're going late."
On one end of the practice field, assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel barked out instructions to his offensive linemen.
At the center of the field, special teams worked on punt and kick coverage under the direction of the always-exuberant Danny Smith.
And at the other end of the field, defensive coordinator-defensive line coach Greg Blache worked with his the defensive lineman, focusing on technique and footwork and how specific moves could be useful against the Bucs' defensive linemen.
Then there was Clinton Portis, wearing shoulder pads over his white jersey. It seems the Redskins' running back can't resist wearing something that draws attention. Some players have hinted that his Thursday costume this week could be memorable.
Portis's attire aside, this is a team focused on the task at hand, working hard--but having fun, too.
"We work well together," H-back Mike Sellers said. "Everybody on the team gets along. There's no one person, it's all a team effort. That's the way everybody does it around here."
Sellers suggested that the team's approach is a reflection of head coach Joe Gibbs.
"Everybody believes in him, so anything he says, there's no second guessing," Sellers said. "It just makes us more confident knowing that we have a great coach who believes in us."
And, with the playoff game just a few days away, coaches worked players hard on Wednesday.
"Coach Williams was on us all day," safety Ryan Clark said. "It felt like a practice after we lose a game. He won't let you get too high. But when he needs to be positive about things, he is."
After playing through a knee injury in last Sunday's win over the Philadelphia Eagles, quarterback Mark Brunell was full-go at practice, according to Gibbs. Brunell is not listed on the team's injury report this week and is ready to go against Tampa Bay.
Brunell will be making his first postseason appearance since 1999. In terms of postseason play, the 13-year veteran is among the most experienced players on the Redskins roster. Brunell has played in seven playoff games, including two AFC Championship games, when he was a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995-2003.
"It's been a long time for me, and I think it's sweeter for this team and this organization, since it has been six years since the Redskins have been in the playoffs," Brunell said.
Brunell added: "We're all 0-0 right now and we've got an opportunity just like everybody else. We're playing our best football right now, we're being smart with the football, and so we know what it takes to win."