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FedExField Surface Contingent On Schedule


The playing surface at FedExField was a hot topic after the Redskins' Wild Card loss to the Seattle Seahawks, in which the natural grass deteriorated over the course of the game.

After the game, head coach Mike Shanahan admitted that it was a less-than-ideal playing surface, and vowed that the organization would look into all options heading into 2013.

"You like a perfect field," he said. "It wasn't a perfect field. We all know that."

The Redskins are one-of-14 teams in the NFL to play on an exclusively natural surface, with only the Browns, Steelers and Bears playing farther north.

A natural surface has the reputation for preventing injuries, but Shanahan noted that it is difficult to grow grass in the winter in Washington, D.C.

"If you do sod right, a lot of times it's good," he said. "Relative to turf, you just have to judge if you're willing to go in that direction because of the injuries on turf compared to grass.

"I don't think there's an advantage one way or a disadvantage one way."

Shanahan has coached for most of his NFL career on a natural surface, both with the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers before coming to Washington.

His experience at Mile High Stadium and Candlestick Park were part of the discussion for whether or not to replace the surface at FedExField between Week 17 and the playoffs.

"I've been in San Francisco where that field at the end of the season was always torn up," he said. "Sometimes we put sod down and it was worse after we put the sod down – especially new sod. Did the same thing in Denver at one time and it didn't work out for the sod."

General manager Bruce Allen addressed the field at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center last week, saying a plan will be made once the NFL schedule is released in April.

"We have looked at that," he said. "And as soon as the schedule comes out...we'll be ready to commit to a schedule so we have some new sod at the end of the year."

Last year, the Redskins had only two home games between Weeks 6-13, a time during which Allen said the team should have re-sodded FedExField.

As long as there is enough time between games to allow the grass to take hold, the Redskins will plan to have fresh a fresh surface at the end of the 2013 season.

"We missed an opportunity last year in the window between the seventh game and the tenth game to resod the field," he said. "Obviously it's not going to grow, we're not in Florida, but we think it's going to address the playing field in December and January."




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