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Redskins' Off-season Workouts Won't Be Business As Usual


For the Redskins, it's back to business on Monday.

It won't be business as usual, though.

And that's a good thing following a disappointing 4-12 campaign last season.

The off-season strength and conditioning program gets underway at Redskins Park, with players working out in the weight room and running sprints on the practice fields.

In the last two months, head coach Mike Shanahan has spearheaded a series of changes at Redskins Park, re-emphasizing a professional, business-like atmosphere.

Players will notice the changes right away.

In terms of off-season workouts, Shanahan said he anticipates full participation from his players.

"I'm looking forward to the people that are here," Shanahan said. "The people that are here, they want to get better and do everything they can to help our football team win for the future. I'm just looking forward to spending some time [with the players] and kicking it off on the right note."

Attendance in off-season workouts is not mandatory, per NFL rules.

Even so, Shanahan has stressed the importance of the strength and conditioning program.

It's especially important given the new coaching staff, which includes new offensive and defensive coordinators and new schemes.

Said Shanahan: "What's really important with a team? You always put the team first, and we've done a lot of things to try to help our football team get better. From our strength coaches to what we're doing in the weight room, our off-season conditioning program is going to be a day-to-day process.

"You try to get better every day, and we're going to do everything we can to get better relative to spending time with players and doing things--not only in the weight room--but football things as well."

Asked if he expected Clinton Portis to be in attendance, Shanahan replied: "Oh, I guarantee you Clinton will be there. I know Clinton too well. He'll be there, and he'll kick off the offseason on the right note.

"I want my leaders to be here, and hopefully we'll have 100 percent participation. If not, I'll be disappointed."

Among other changes at Redskins Park include a revamped weight room.

New head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright has re-organized the equipment and provided more space for different kinds of workouts, including pilates.

Wright's conditioning program emphasizes endurance, weight training and speed and agility as they relate to the game of football.

"Really, what we want is a safe, efficient, football player-built program," Wright told TV's Larry Michael. "You look at nutrition, football-specific endurance, football-specific weight training, football-specific speed and agility, and rest. Those are the five components we're going to use to build a program.

"And relationships are huge. For our staff, to build relationships with these players and let them know we care about them, let them know we're going to work for them and with them, that's how we're going to get it done."

Wright knows about the history and tradition of the Redskins--he learned his trade under Dan Riley in Houston from 2002-08. Riley was the Redskins' head strength and conditioning coach from 1982-99.

"It's not the weight room, it's the people in it," Wright said. "It's what you do in it."

Players who are rehabbing from injuries are also expected to be at Redskins Park, although they likely won't participate in the conditioning program just yet.

Nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu, signed by the Redskins on March 10, is returning from a torn Achilles he suffered last season as a member of the Carolina Panthers.

Shanahan said Kemoeatu, an 8-year NFL veteran, was expected to resume treatment with the Redskins' athletic training staff.

"He's not 100 percent ready right now, but by the time we start the season, hopefully he'll be ready to go," Shanahan said. "Here's a guy who is 6-5, about 380 pounds, and has played real well. He brings a lot to the table."

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