In a typical week during the regular season, a team usually gets a couple days to rest and recover after a game before turning their full attention to their next opponent.
Those teams featured on Thursday Night Football games, however, generally aren't afforded that luxury. In fact, as the Redskins are finding out this week, it's been difficult to even get a couple hours to spend thinking about anything other than the New York Giants, their opponent Thursday at FedExField.
"It's tough because you're condensing all that week work that you do throughout the course of the week into a couple days," Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. "That's why it's good to have players like we have that are able to absorb a lot of material."
The Redskins' aren't only absorbing a lot of material – they're absorbing a lot of coffee, a laughing Jay Gruden told reporters on Tuesday.
"We're going through the same process, we just have got to do it a lot faster," Gruden, who is handling his first short week as a head coach, said. "You have got to watch film a little bit faster, you have got to go through the plays a little bit faster, you have got to write down the plays faster. Yeah, it's tough. I'm a little jittery right now. I've had 17 cups of coffee."
The NFL began moving football games to primetime on Thursday nights in 2006, and the Redskins on Thursday will be making their fourth *Thursday Night Football * appearance.
Overall, the Redskins hold a 1-2 record in those games, with their lone win coming against the Chicago Bears, 24-16, in 2007. A year earlier, the Redskins lost to the Giants – this week's opponent – by a score of 34-28.
Gruden and his staff planned ahead in order to help get a leg up on the short week. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said the team took some time during the dog days of training camp to begin implementing its Week 4 game plan against the Giants.
"We actually prepared for this team in training camp, we game planned for them in training camp," Haslett said. "We crossed over to see what they were doing in preseason so there's a lot of carry-over from what we did back in training camp."
Haslett joked that he doesn't care much for Thursday night games – or any night games, for that matter.
"It's after my bed time," he said with a chuckle.
Washington's players, meanwhile, know the bumps and bruises earned in Sunday's game against the Eagles must be mended quickly in order to be on top of their game Thursday against New York.
"We're all professionals and we're going to do a good job taking care of our bodies if there's any knicks or sprains," defensive lineman Chris Baker said when asked if it was harder to prepare physically or mentally for such a short week. "We're going to do a good job at getting our treatment and things that's necessary for us to be successful."
Fullback Darrel Young said the Redskins prepared for this week's game both on paper and in the weight room this preseason.
"That's what you lift weights for in the offseason," Young said. "I think credit to our strength and conditioning coaches for putting us in a good situation and understanding what we need to keep our bodies intact and go through this 16-game stretch."
So when the lights turn on Thursday night and the teams take the field for what looks to be another physical NFC East battle, it won't matter what day of the week it is, or what time of night it is.
All that will matter is that one team, barring an unlikely tie, will leave FedExField with a 2-2 record.
"This is the NFL," Baker said. "It's a new week and now we'll focus on the Giants and try to win that game."