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Need to Know: Redskins training camp arrangement is wagging the dog

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp arrangement is wagging the dog

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 16, the day the Washington Redskins start minicamp.

Wagging the dog

The Redskins announced their Richmond training camp schedule for 2015 and there is a significant change from the way they did things last year.

The full practices, the ones with pads and hitting and full speed action, will be held in the afternoon, most of them starting a 3 p.m. In the morning they will do a walkthrough. Last year they had the full practices at about 8:30 a.m. and the walkthroughs in the afternoon.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden liked having the heavy work in the morning, before the summer heat really started to bear down. He also liked the cycle of going over material during meetings at night and then getting on the field and practicing it in the morning. Richmond is also more like to see a line of thunderstorms roll through in the afternoon and it’s better to have a walkthrough lost to the weather than a full practice, which can’t be made up. Unlike Redskins Park, the Bon Secours training canter does not have an indoor practice facility.

It is believed that one of the reasons for the change is attendance at Bon Secours. Last year fans were showing up in large numbers in the morning for the more entertaining full practice. But since the walkthrough is as exciting to watch as growing grass, fans were not staying. With no reason for fans to stick around there were few people around to get lunch at the various concession stands that were set up inside and outside of the games. The city had a difficult time making its $500,000 payment to the Redskins.

So, it appears that the flipping of the practice times was done at least in part due to the financial arrangement the Redskins have with the city. The change happened even though last year’s schedule was probably best for football reasons.

The Redskins’ arrangement with Richmond nearly created another situation that was not in the best interest of the football operation. As of a couple of weeks ago, the Redskins did not have any joint practices with another NFL team scheduled. Why not?

“Well, last year, we practiced against New England because we played them Week 1 [of the preseason] at home,” Gruden said last week. “You know, this year we didn’t have that luxury. So it’s hard to get somebody to fly into Richmond and we couldn’t really go anywhere else because of our commitment to Richmond.”

Houston had previously arranged to practice against the Saints but when New Orleans cancelled, the Texans made the call and will be headed to Richmond. Had the Texans been able to stick with their original plan the Redskins would have been out of luck.

Joint practices are becoming very popular around the NFL; it seems that the majority of NFL teams are taking part in at least one. They give the team a chance to face unfamiliar players and break up the tedium of training camp.

So since the arrangement with Richmond, which calls for 15 days of practice to be held there, precludes the Redskins from visiting another team’s facility for practice is is turning what most teams believe is a valuable part of training camp into a “luxury”. Add that to the practice time changes and you have what should be football decisions being made, or at least influenced, by financial and other non-football factors.

Of course, it should work the other way around. There are some advantages to having training camp in Richmond but if we continue to see the tail wag the dog the Redskins would be better off terminating their agreement and going back to having their training camp at the team facility in Ashburn.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Minicamp practice 1 p.m.; defensive assistant coaches available after practice, approx. 2:45; Jay Gruden press conference after practice.

—It’s been 170 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 89 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 44; Preseason opener @ Browns 58

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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