Pads create an extra level of competition during training camp, and Saturday could be the first of three straight days of padded practices for the Redskins.
If the rain is able to stay away from the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., on Saturday, the Redskins will hold the first padded practice of the team's 2016 training camp.
While the first day of training camp is always special, bringing out the pads brings with it quite a bit of excitement. It's just one step closer to the real thing being back.
If the rain holds off, it will be the first of three straight days of padded practices.
"We'll see how it goes with the weather," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "But tomorrow's [Saturday] the plan for pads and we'll give them off on Sunday, and then go Monday in pads, Tuesday in pads."
Sunday, of course, is the first off day for the players followed by a "special teams-type day" on Wednesday.
Then it will be back to pads again on Thursday.
Throughout all four practices, though, the Redskins will limit the amount of tackling that will take place.
"There is a fine line," Gruden said. "We're not going to do any live tackling that I foresee – maybe with the twos and threes, maybe a live period here and there – but the ones will not do any live tackling until Week 1 of the preseason."
Having the pads on allows the talent evaluators time to see how the 90-man roster performs after months in shorts.
"We're going to do more one-on-one drills with the pads on – especially for the O-Line and D-Line," Gruden said. "We'll do some more physical-type runs in first and second down; we'll do some third down challenging where the pass rush is full-speed with the stunts. It's going to be fun to watch and the cream will rise to the top. We'll see that very soon when the pads get on."
The Washington Redskins defense and special teams conducted their second day of training camp practice Friday, July 29, 2016 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
The Redskins' first preseason game takes place on Thursday, Aug. 11, when the team travels south to take on the Atlanta Falcons.
It will mark the first time the Redskins will be together on the field against another team since January's playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.
Among the players that are eager to get the pads back on – and the opportunity to hit someone other than a teammate – is second-year inside linebacker Martrell Spaight.
Spaight appeared in just one regular season game during his rookie season before suffering a conclusion that would sideline him for the rest of the year.
"I am getting anxious every moment I think about it," Spaight said. "My main thing is to keep getting better every day, so once the game comes around I have no doubt in my mind that I know what I'm doing, and I can go out there and maybe 'Spaight' a few people. Now, I'm just trying to get better every day and prepare for the first game."