The Washington Redskins on Thursday welcome the Houston Texans for three days of joint training camp practices at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.*
Lights. Camera. Action.
The latter two will certainly be a major theme the next three days at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, where the Redskins will play host to the Houston Texans – as well as HBO's HARD KNOCKS cameras – for joint practices.
"Any time you go against another professional football team, they're going to have good players, obviously, and the Texans are no different," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "And it's very important for us to – whatever happens in these three practices – just continue to grow and get better and continue at the line of communication."
Both the Redskins and the Texans have recent experiences to draw from when it comes to conducting successful joint practices.
Last season, the Texans traveled to Denver to practice against the Broncos prior to their preseason game, and then hosted the Atlanta Falcons before that preseason matchup.
The Redskins, meanwhile, played host to the New England Patriots last year in Richmond, giving Gruden and his staff a better look at his 90-man roster against other competition other than a four-quarter preseason game.
"Cuts are looming right around the corner and you've got to make a decision on your 53 guys," Gruden said. "You're trying to put guys in position where they're going against other guys fighting for their lives in real situations and that's great to see."
Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson said this year's practices against the Texans will have a little different feel than last year's Patriots practices because Washington played Houston in Week 1 of the regular season last season.
"It really helps to see, coaches gauge the talent and see what things we need to improve upon before the regular season begins," said Robinson, a Texas product. "But I think this year – us playing Houston last year – we kind of already know what they're going to do and what they're about, but like I said, it's still an opportunity for the coaches to I guess develop talent and evaluate talent."
Welcoming WattLast year, Redskins fans got an up-close-and-personal look at how Patriots quarterback Tom Brady operates his team's offense.
The Washington Redskins today announced they will conduct joint 2015 training camp practices with the Houston Texas in Richmond, Va. Here's a look back at some Redskins-Texans battles over the years.
This year, they'll see the league's top defensive player in Houston defensive end J.J. Watt.
Watt, a two-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award winner, has 295 tackles, 57 sacks, 37 passes defensed 12 forced fumbles, one interception and five touchdowns in his four-year NFL career, and is known to bring the same intensity to the practice field.
It'll be a tough test for a young Redskins offensive line, Gruden said.
"J.J. Watt is the best and it will be a great challenge," he said. "I want to see who is going to line up first against him in one-on-ones. It's going to be a fun one."
Gruden said communication is key when the team gets ready for an 11-on-11 setting against the Texans' defense.
"It's so important for offensive linemen to make sure we're all on the same page," the second-year head coach said. "And they're going to get beat from time to time, but they just stay steady in their progression and continue to work hard and continue to communicate. Good things will work out."
For his part, Watt told the local media on Monday that the joint practices this week against the Redskins is another "opportunity to get better."
"[I'm] Looking forward to practicing against another team, looking forward to getting good reps in, getting good work in and the opportunity to go out there every single day and compete – compete with my teammates and work on coming together as a team," Watt said in a conference call. "Going out there every day and putting together the best practice we can put together."
*The added flavor to the next three days of practice will certainly be the presence of HBO's *HARD KNOCKS *production crew, which is documenting the Texans' entire training camp for the annual award-winning series.
But the Redskins, many of whom watch the show, say they are going to focus on their own assignments – and not on the added attention.
"I didn't even think about the show," Redskins fullback Darrel Young said. "I think about JJ Watt. But that's all just for excitement for the fans and stuff, but we just have to go out there and do what we do and get better."
Second-year outside linebacker Trent Murphy said "whether it's recorded or not, we're going against somebody one-on-one every day in practice."
"You have to do your job," he continued. "You have to win, so that will be where my focus is."
Gruden, who has prior experience with HARD KNOCKS when the show featured the Cincinnati Bengals when he was the team's offensive coordinator, is also not worried about the cameras – and the microphones that can catch everything said on the field and in the meeting rooms.
"We're just going to go business as usual," Gruden said. "Really, HARD KNOCKS, they do a great job of staying out of your way and not being too intrusive. We're just going to be ourselves and go out and play."
REDSKINS-TEXANS JOINT PRACTICES SCHEDULE (all times subject to change):
Thursday, Aug. 6:
- Gates open at 7:30 a.m.
- Practice begins at 8:35 a.m.
- Walkthrough begins at 4:10 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 7:
- Gates open at 7:30 a.m.
- Practice begins at 8:35 a.m.
Saturday, Aug. 8:
- Practice begins at 10:35 a.m.
- Camp closes at 12:30 p.m.
- REMINDER: A ticket lottery was held via Redskins.com for the Aug. 8 practice date with the Texans. If you do not already have a ticket you are not guaranteed entrance.