Redskins players have just more than a month to prepare for training camp, which can be a daunting period of time without the motivation of coaches and teammates in the same building. How do you know when to take it easy and when to push yourself?
Veterans of the league have figured out their routines by now – what they like and don't like – and, as head coach Jay Gruden said last week, they each have specific plans tailored by head strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark for the next five weeks.
"[That] is the big one – conditioning, the test they have to prepare for. But a lot of these players have their own trainers, their own facility where they work out and they are very diligent about it," Gruden said. "That's a good thing. They're going to come back in good shape. But we'll have a plan to give them that if they don't have anywhere to go, they'll have some steps to take and follow along with."
And while Gruden plans to spend some time decompressing from the months of work ("We take the time off. It's a time off for coaches. It's the benefit of being an NFL coach – you've got this month here where you can take off."), many of his players are taking the next 40 days seriously.
Sure, a little rest is warranted and will be taken, but by no means do players, many of whom enter training camp with a chip on their shoulder, have something to prove, are new to the team or have a new position to work on, view this respite as required relaxation.
Here's how several have thought about their late June and July.
Quarterback Trent Williams:
"It's a good balance between resting, recharging the batteries, clearing the mind and also getting built back up ready for training camp and ready for a long season. I mean, I tell my family and friends that once I go back at the end of July, 'I'll see you in the winter at some point, hopefully later than sooner.' It's a long time once you leave in July, so it's important to not just physically but mentally and emotionally be ready to go. And that requires some rest in late June and early July and I try to balance that with the preparation of the throwing and the lifting and doing what I need to be doing to be ready."
Cornerback Josh Norman:
"I would say a little R&R but knowing me I'll probably be in the weight room pushing up some weight. Work never stops man. But I'll be here and there traveling, probably be on some shows, obviously trying to get my second career going. But at the same time it's going to be fun and exciting work."
Linebacker Junior Galette:
"Train. I've had year off. These are the most important weeks right here. When guys try to take a week or two off and the next thing you know you have three weeks left so it's just that time where you can't really take any time off. You just got to go right into it."
Safety DeAngelo Hall:
"Vacation man, just relaxation. Some fun in the sun. Kids got some things going on, me and the wife are going to take a couple trips, but just relaxation right now."
Defensive end Chris Baker:
"I'm going to go to L.A. this weekend with my wife and daughter and do a little relaxation time and, then, come back and straight grind to get ready for camp."
Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan:
"I have a couple little travel things in there. My sister's getting married, so I have to go back to Indiana for a wedding, but yeah I'll just be training, working out. Just getting my body ready for the season."
Safety Su'a Cravens:
"Working out at USC. Just staying in my playbook and making sure I stay in shape and getting ready for training camp."
Tight end Vernon Davis:
"I just continue to train and take care of my body and do all the necessary things that I need to do to make sure that I'm in good shape when I come back. Most importantly though, stay out of trouble."
Defensive end Ricky Jean Francois:
"I always tell guys once you come back from that first break on the first day I want you to remember what your body feels like right now because your body is not going to feel like this until March or for some older guys until April. But, you love the game so much you don't care about the soreness and you want the bruises, the sweat, blood and everything. You got to take that in. I understand soreness, but that's the reason you got a training room, you got a cold tub, and you got a hot tub. You got to go take care of your body."