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Off-season Work Over, Time For a Break

After weeks of mini-camps, practices and weight room sessions, the Redskins officially concluded their off-season workout program on Wednesday, as rookies spent extra time with coaches after most veterans departed last week.

On Thursday, coaches will join players in taking a few weeks off and spending time with family. Following the break, coaches and players reconvene for training camp in late July. That's when the Redskins will hold a passing camp for all players except offensive and defensive linemen and some special teamers.

The first Redskins training camp practice open to the public will be Saturday, July 31. Fan Appreciation Day will be Saturday, August 7.

Head coach Joe Gibbs said he was pleased with how much the team had been able to accomplish in the last three months, from the team's rigorous strength and conditioning program to the mini-camps and league-sanctioned Organized Team Activities.

"When you're out there practicing, it's good for the coaching staff because you get a lot of interaction in meetings and in practices," Gibbs said. "We're all really familiar with each other. Obviously, you're going against your own defense and you get a familiarity with all of the things they're doing. Our defense is pretty complicated, so it's good to go up against them. They probably feel the same way going against the offense."

The group of players on hand this week, which included draft picks Sean Taylor, Chris Cooley, Mark Wilson and Jim Molinaro, spent extra time in the classroom and on the practice fields learning as much as they could in the limited amount of time.

"Since [rookies] came so much later--and if a rookie is not signed, then there'll be a lot of time before we get a chance to look at him again--we worked as hard as we could with them," Gibbs said.

Gibbs, on the players' strength and conditioning from now until training camp:

"[Head strength and conditioning coach] John Dunn has monitored everyone's weight training. Everybody has finished their treadmill test. What we're able to do is prepare everybody's pulse rate on the standard treadmill test, which tells you by groups, if a guy's pulse rate is 184, it means one thing, but if it's 210, it's something else. I think we have a real good feeling on where our guys stand. As a group, we have a well-conditioned group. Cardiovascular-wise, I think we're on track. Anybody with medical problems will continue to work all the way through the break. We tell everybody, 'This is what we expect from now to camp.' So it's still pretty intense for players even though they won't be around here."

On whether the team will add any players between now and training camp:

"Obviously if there's anybody who comes up out there who we would have an interest in, we're going to be all over it. Anytime you have a chance to add a player, you try and do it if you can, if it's somebody who fits in with your team. I don't know of anybody in that category. But if something came up, we're going to pursue it. The way I look at it, this is pretty much our football team and this is who we're going to play with. We've added a lot of people and we had a lot of good football players here last year. I don't look at it as much of a possibility to add anything."

On playing five preseason games this year:

"What we're going to do is treat [the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio] as a scrimmage. A lot of teams work against each other. We'll just treat that as our first go-around working against another team. It'll be good from the standpoint that we are a new staff. It'll probably take us a game or two in preseason to get any kind of feel for each other as go into our first regular-season game. So I'm going to look at it as a positive. It'll be our first real work. We'll have nine days to get ready for it. And we'll have to see if we can play a game against one of the better teams in the league."

On the team's secretive approach this offseason:

"In a lot of sports, you can give away secrets at the Coke machine by just doing a lot of talking. Obviously, we should have a certain amount of indecision [from other teams] on what we're doing. They'll go look at film of Gregg Williams' defense at Buffalo from last year. They'll go look at film of my old teams, but that's eons ago. But we do have somewhat of an advantage there. You like to keep it so there's some indecision with how much we're going to do and what protections we have. Some of that will be from what we show in preseason. If we have anything going for ourselves, it would be that first game or two where their might be some questions about what we're going to do."

On whether he has explicitly told players not to discuss the team's approach:

"Very much so. We talk about that all the time. We talk about all of the security things we do during the year. And I think they understand that. We don't give out a big playbook. It's pretty much notes. The fact that we do so much at different times of the year, it's hard for somebody to pinpoint what we're going to do in a game.

On getting ready to practice in pads in training camp:

"Obviously up until now we've just been in helmets. The most important thing is that when you put on the pads and helmets to start hitting people, you have to block and tackle, too. The good news is, when we show up, we'll have a short period of time-about a week-and then we'll have to play a preseason game. The bad news is, we have a week and we're ready to play a preseason game. For the coaches, there'll never be enough time for us. But it'll be hot and heavy as soon as we get back."

On his plans for the next month:

"I'll be spending time with my grandbabies. I'll be at the beach some, we'll get away. I think all of the coaches look forward to this every year. It's our big time off where we have a lot of family time."

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