Training camp is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its second season under head coach Ron Rivera. Stay up to date with "WFT Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.
Fans will get the chance to see Washington on the field in person starting tomorrow, and soon they'll be allowed back at FedExField. They're excited to see the direction of where the team is headed, and head coach Ron Rivera is just as ready to have them back.
"I think it's cool," Rivera said during the first press conference of training camp. "It's an opportunity to really reach out and touch the fans. We'll...practice hard, we'll try to give them a little bit of a sampling of what we can be."
It's been 19 months since all fans were given the opportunity to see the players in a live setting. The team did allow a small group, consisting mostly of the players' families, to attend last year's matchup against the Rams, but the FedExField hasn't been open to all fans for a game since Dec. 22, 2019.
Over the course of Washington's four-day trip to Richmond, fans will have the opportunity to see their team during practices. On top of that, the team is hosting "Friday Night Football" at FedExField for 20,000 fans, and the NFL has made it clear it is dedicated to having stadiums operate at full capacity.
The players will be in helmets and shoulder pads, rather than full pads, to work on their technique, but Rivera said fans will still get to see the work Washington has done in the offseason to continue improving the team.
"We lost touch with them a little bit last year to a degree," Rivera said.
Rivera also pointed out that it would have been a benefit to have the fans back during their playoff push at the end of the season. The only two games Washington lost to close out the final seven weeks of the season were at home. Those defeats came by a combined 12 points, including a 20-15 loss to the 12-4 Seahawks.
"As we started to gain momentum and started to play better," Rivera said, "it would have been great to have the fans create that momentum."
Perhaps the ultimate example was during Washington's Wild Card matchup against the Buccaneers, when Taylor Heinicke and his playing style nearly lifted the team to an upset over the eventual Super Bowl LV champions. Washington had a chance to at least tie the score until the end of the game, and Rivera would have loved to see a packed stadium in that setting.
"That would have been something that would have been special for our guys," Rivera said.
Rivera views training camp as an opportunity to integrate the players together. That bond will be paramount as it tries to repeat as division champions and make a deeper run in the playoffs. But the team will also be able to reconnect with the fanbase and welcome them back. They'll get a more personal look at the sustainable, winning culture Rivera has been building over the past two years.
"It will be a first look for most of our fans," Rivera said. "I'm looking forward to it. I really am."