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Bye Week Provides An Early Respite

In years past, when the Redskins had their bye week, players typically departed the team's practice facility in a hurry, eager to catch planes for their weekend vacation.

Not so this year. The bye arrived, yet many players stayed around Redskins Park for several hours after the team's final practice of the week had ended.

Players have the weekend off and return on Monday.

"We're focused and made it through practice, but now we're going to enjoy ourselves," left tackle Chris Samuels said.

Whether the Redskins' bye week comes at a good time is up for debate. Most players felt that it came a little too early--not that there's anything they could have done about it.

Said Mark Brunell: "It's bittersweet, actually. It's good for us in that it would be tough to play this Sunday coming off an emotional victory considering we got back so late. But at the same time, after this week we have 14 games in a row. That can be tough on a team mentally and physically. We're going to have to get a lot of rest, re-charge our batteries, and get ready for the run."

Added Clinton Portis: "We'll find out at the end of the season if it came too early. I'm sure the coaches are going to know when to pull up and rest us. We're taking it one game at a time. If we start looking ahead to the next 14 games, we might lose 13 of them. Depending on how the body feels, I'm sure if something is wrong, Coach [Joe] Gibbs will rest us."

Most players will spend time with family and friends over the weekend.

Defensive lineman Phillip Daniels is headed home to Chicago to watch his 12-year-old son Davaris play a pee-wee league football game. Daniels was practically gushing over his son's prospects.

"Usually when I come to a game, he plays harder," Daniels said. "I haven't seen him all year because he plays on Sundays just like I do. He hasn't seen me yet, either. But when his season is over, he'll come see me. I went to his first practice in July and he was hitting pretty hard. He's a pretty good player; he's got people recruiting him already."

Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs is headed to Tallahassee, Fla., to spend time with his daughter, Grace.

"I'll just be hanging out with the family and playing with my daughter," Jacobs said.

Right guard Randy Thomas was busy finalizing plans to fly home to Atlanta with his wife and three kids. Given his proclivity for food, it's not surprising that his activities over the weekend are geared toward eating.

"I'm going to fish every night and fry fish in the morning," he said.

What about the newest Redskin?

First-year linebacker Nick McNeil signed on with the Redskins' practice squad on Thursday. He practiced with the team, then was given the weekend off.

McNeil expects to make arrangements to get a car and find a place to stay near Redskins Park--all the while learning the playbook.

"I'm going to try to scout the area and feel my way around," McNeil said. "I'm acclimating myself to the organization. I have the playbook all set up and I have to familiarize myself with that. That's my top priority."

As for the coaching staff, the work does not end. Gibbs said the coaches would be behind closed doors at Redskins Park, preparing for the Oct. 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks at FedExField.

Hopefully, Gibbs said, the coaches will be able to get work done early and go home to relax with their families.

"We have a quite a bit of work to get done," Gibbs said. "I'd like to see my grandbabies a little bit. Whenever we get our work done, then we'll probably take the rest of the weekend off."

Will they at least spend time to watch football games on Sunday afternoon? Gibbs said he wasn't sure.

Asked if he enjoys watching NFL games as a fan, Gibbs said: "I don't get all technical about it like I do when I'm evaluating film, but I do enjoy the games. Most of the games I watch are on Monday night or Sunday night. I don't get all caught up in it. I can kind of relax."

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