Top images from Washington Redskins' practice on Nov. 10, 2014 at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
The Washington Redskins got back to work on Monday after getting refreshed and recharged over the bye week.
Reporting for an earlier-than-usual 10:30 a.m. practice, head coach Jay Gruden wanted to use Monday as a chance to get his players back into the flow of football as they prepare for their Week 11 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"We just had a brief meeting today about 45 minutes and then we had practice," Gruden said. "So today was about getting back into the flow and doing what we do offensively and defensively."
Last Tuesday, players went their separate ways, giving them five days to spend time with friends and family, which is exactly what tight end Niles Paul ended up doing.
"I hung out with my little brother and my older brother," he said. "We had a good time. We just relaxed."
The bye week is also seen as a crucial break away from the physical side of the game. Throughout the NFL season, players will get the inevitable bumps and bruises that come from playing 60 minutes of hard-fought football each and every week.
"It's very important," Paul said. "I know me personally, my body was beat down in the trenches with those big guys. I needed it and now I feel refreshed and recharged."
The bye week also gives players a chance to rest their minds. Usually arriving early and staying late to study their upcoming opponent, the five days off gave the players a chance to refocus.
"It was a good mental break," fullback Darrel Young said. "I know a lot of guys got away, put themselves with their family to kind of take their off of what's been going on with the drama or whatever else."
Sitting at 3-6 at this point of the season, things haven't gone according to plan in Gruden's first season as the Redskins' head coach. Paul believes, however, that the bye week came at just the right time to help the team get back in the right frame of mind.
"It came at a beautiful time," Paul said. "It allowed everybody to get away from the facility, enjoy time with their families and not think about football for a little bit. I think it was much needed."
The Redskins have been in this situation before. In 2012, they were 3-6 at the time of their bye week before running through a seven-game winning streak on their way to the playoffs.
This time around, Young doesn't see why that can't happen again.
"I always feel confident," he said. "I have living experience of it. We just have to go out there and prove it to ourselves that we can. It started today. The journey started today."
For that to happen, Paul says it's all about getting all three phases of the game rolling and stringing some wins together.
"We all know that we're capable of that as a team," he said. "We got to execute, finish games and play with the confidence that we played with when we played against the Cowboys."
Gruden said he appreciated the time off, but is more than eager to get his team back in the film room and on the practice field to prepare for the Buccaneers.
"It was good for everybody to get away, see their families and get some quality time away from this building," Gruden said. "But now that everybody's back, we're focusing on what we're doing and getting ready for Tampa."