It's time to throw on the helmets and jerseys and play some football.
The Washington Redskins today begin their voluntary mini-camp, which features -- for the first time -- the chance for head coach Jay Gruden and his staff to get out on the field with their players and see them at work.
Although the Redskins finished Phase 1 of their offseason workout program April 17, league rules mandated that no members of the Redskins' coaching staff were allowed to be present while players were training on the field or were in the weight room.
"I want to see how the coaches coach and how the players play," Gruden said Monday prior to Brian Orakpo!(/team/roster/brian-orakpo/1ada3638-7183-4829-9e9e-c298e3da69a2/ "Brian Orakpo")'s Leukemia Golf Classic. "Then, after this mini-camp, hopefully I'll have a better understanding maybe of what our major needs are moving forward towards the draft."
The mini-camp -- which runs through Thursday this week -- includes lifting and conditioning work early in the morning, followed by team and unit meetings, and then about two hours of practice in which players will be wearing their helmets, jerseys and shorts.
League rules indicate that although team and individual drills can begin on the field today, the offensive and defensive units cannot practice against each other just yet, however.
"You know, we haven't been able to get out on the field with them, so just to watch Robert (Griffin III) throw pat-and-go, and watch him throw individual routes, and watch the receivers run and our DB's cover, and how we're pursuing the football on defense, and watch our punters punt ..." Gruden said. "It's going to be exciting to get the first-hand look at the offensive linemen and just the tempo of practice."
Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said today's mini-camp practice will be an important step forward as he continues to construct the roster this offseason.
"I'm really looking forward to this minicamp and seeing how the players take to the new coaching, the new attitude that coach Gruden has put into the locker room, and it gives us a little bit of an advantage to be able to do that now," Allen said Monday. "We're still going to be looking for ways to improve this football team, whether it's the draft or undrafted free agents or in trades later on."
For the players, today's first minicamp practice includes an added level of excitement.
"I think our vets are very excited because of the new regime," Orakpo said. "Coach Jay is coming in with a new philosophy so we can basically get a jump-start on everybody else so we can hopefully have a successful season."