The Washington Redskins today began Phase 1 of their offseason workout program, as several players came to the team's facility in Loudoun County, Va., for on-field conditioning and training in the weight room.
Because the Redskins are beginning their first season under a new head coach, they are one of seven teams this year allowed to begin their Phase 1 workout program with a two-week head start, per the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Gruden – hired Jan. 9 as the 29th head coach in Redskins franchise history – is also getting the chance to meet some of his players, as well as conduct instructional sessions and talk football strategy with the guys, for the first time.
"I've got a pretty good idea on most of our guys (and) I've had the chance to meet the majority of them," Gruden told Redskins.com TV's Larry Michael at the NFL's Annual Meetings in Orlando. "There's still some I haven't met unfortunately, but there will be plenty of time for that and once these phase one, phase two, the OTA's start, were excited about that."
Although coaches are allowed to speak with players in a meetings setting, the league rules state they are not allowed to be present while players are training on the field or in the weight room during Phase 1 of the program, which is classified as voluntary for the players.
Phase 2 of the Redskins offseason workout program – which lasts three weeks – begins April 21, which is when team and individual drills can begin on the field, although the offensive and defensive units cannot practice against each other.
Then, on May 12, the Redskins can begin holding 10 organized team activities (OTAs), which are essentially practice sessions with non-contact drills – 7-on-7s, 9-on-9s or 11-on-11s.
Gruden said every phase of the offseason training program is "equally important in building a football team."
"You know they get here, they work on their strength and conditioning, they work on the mental aspect of the game," he said. "Then you get them outside and you work on the fundamentals of football."
The Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans – the other six teams with new head coaches this season – were also allowed to begin Phase 1 of their offseason workout programs today.