Gruden looks back on first training camp with Redskins:'Pretty smooth'
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Robert Griffin III was the last player on the field, signing one more football helmet, one more No. 10 jersey and one more poster for training camp volunteers before heading to the locker room.
Unlike a year ago, when the Washington Redskins' star quarterback and then-head coach Mike Shanahan feuded openly about whether he'd be allowed to test his surgically repaired knee in a preseason game, Griffin and the Redskins wrapped up a drama-free camp under new coach Jay Gruden.
"You never want a media circus or anything like that," Gruden said.
After nearly three weeks in Richmond, the Redskins headed back to northern Virginia and enjoyed a much-appreciated day off Wednesday for players.
"I think it was pretty smooth. I think everybody's on the same page as far as what we're talking about, what we're doing on the field. There's no hidden agendas, I don't think," Gruden said.
None appeared evident Tuesday as crews loaded barriers into tractor-trailers and took down the many tents used for a temporary training area. The only negative thought seemed to come from tailback Darrel Young after he dropped a sure touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins in a one-on-one drill.
"It's time to go home," Young said.
The camp also featured three days of joint workouts with the New England Patriots before the teams met in their preseason opener — the first dual practice the Redskins have ever done. Team president and general manager Bruce Allen declared the combined effort a huge success and said he would look into doing it with someone again next season.
"We had spirited practices," Allen said. "There's good competition on this football team right now, and the work with the Patriots and the work that we got against ourselves hopefully is going to propel us this season. I don't think there's any doubt that we got better at camp."
The team plans to practice in pads on Thursday and Friday at Redskins Park, Gruden said. Then enters into a brutal stretch, especially for the preseason, with three games, all with quick turnarounds. They host Cleveland on Monday night, play at Baltimore next Saturday and then at Tampa Bay on Thursday, Aug. 28.
With 88 players still on the active roster, those games will be vital as the roster is pared, Allen said.
"Bringing up the Patriots, we got so many more reps on film to help evaluate these guys and give them an opportunity to shine," he said. "With the three more preseason games, it should filter itself out."
One big decision will come at quarterback, where Gruden has Griffin, incumbent backup Cousins and Colt McCoy and is happy with all three of them. He said the Cincinnati Bengals kept two quarterbacks active and one on the practice squad when he was their offensive coordinator, but that's risky.
"That'll be a decision we make at the very end," he said.
Cost will also be a factor. The Redskins are only about $2 million under the salary cap, Allen said, and "obviously we're going to have some injuries during the year that will eat that up."
He said he and Gruden will look at different options after their third preseason game.