The Redskins wrapped up the team's series of off-season practices Wednesday and veteran players left Redskins Park ready for a break from football until training camp in late July. Coaches will continue to work with rookies, undrafted free agents and other young players through next week.
The Redskins had been scheduled for a final practice on Thursday, but head coach Joe Gibbs decided to let the players go early.
"The players worked real hard and so I gave them a little [break]," Gibbs said. "We finished up today with some hard work and then we let them go."
Since the end of the June 4-6 mini-camp, the Redskins have held a series of league-sanctioned Organized Team Activities (OTAs), similar to full-scale practices except without pads.
Asked if he felt the team had accomplished everything he wanted to in the OTAs, Gibbs said: "No. But I still let them go early. Our guys have worked real hard and they've had a great attitude. I sensed as we were winding down that they were kind of tired of doing OTAs. When we come back, we'll have pads on, start hitting, and we'll get ready to play games pretty quick."
Gibbs, on the players' attitude during the OTAs:
"They've had a great attitude. It would drive you crazy if you had a bunch of guys who didn't want to participate and didn't want to work. We didn't have that here, and that was good. It made for good work time. We got a lot out of the last few weeks, but we'll just have to see how good we're going to be as a team. We all know we haven't been in pads yet. But I think we got a good read on smarts, character and work ethic."
On how most of the instruction and teaching occurs mostly at OTAs now instead of during training camp:
"We didn't do all of these [OTAs] before. When we got to camp, there was always lot of teaching. The last two weeks [OTAs], we got a lot of the teaching in. The other good thing about the OTAs is that a lot of players had chances to get in there. We were gong three-deep. Everybody got their work in and everybody got a chance. When you get to training camp, there's more pressure because you're getting ready to play. So at this time of year, you get a look at a lot of guys. And you can get quite a bit of work in with just a helmet on [and no pads]."
On how often he addresses the entire team:
"We started every day with a team meeting. If I have something I want to share with them that day--maybe it's about practice--I'll share it with them then. So we started every day with a team meeting and then we broke up from there until practice."
On whether he'll treat all players the same or have different rules for certain players:
"You probably only need rules for 10 percent of the guys--the other 90 percent pay attention to business. It does help to set parameters-you just have to let them know this is what we're going to do. Generally what we do is two-a-day, one-a-day, two-a-day, one-a-day, and so on. I'll give players a day off early if they get good work in and get everything done."
On whether character will define this Redskins team, win or lose:
"The most important thing we'll do is pick the players and then do all the X's and O's. And then the second part of the program is this: Every coach has a certain set of beliefs. Most coaches at this level have a plan that says, 'This is what we think and this is what we believe in.' The players are usually the first ones to figure things out. There are 50 of them and they've all been coached by different people. They're going to say if something is smart or if it's dumb. You're hoping what they think is, 'Hey, this makes sense. We're going to do it because it could make us a better football team.' So you're hoping to appeal to the mindset of those 50 people."
On how individualistic players function on his teams:
"I'd say the overall team rules for everybody. Inside of that, there's room for flexibility. For instance, we once had some guys who had back problems or knee problems, and the team went two-a-day and they went one-a-day. But the overall team has to rule for everybody. And I always try to explain it to them if there's something different. I'll add this: Everybody's different as far as motivating them."