The Washington Redskins finished their first Training Camp in Richmond, Virginia today. The team will now head back to Redskins Park for the remaining two preseason games, as well as the entire NFL season.
One of the biggest reasons for the teams move was owner Daniel Snyder, who asked both Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan where they would like to be for training camp:
“Dan [Snyder] asked, ‘Do you guys like going away for training camp or staying at home?’ Both Coach Shanahan and I said we’ve had a lot of success in the past with our other teams going away for training camp, as did the Washington Redskins. He said, ‘Well, whatever you guys want to do that will help the football team, go find it,’” Bruce Allen told reporters during his press conference earlier today.
While the team looked at Carlisle, where the Redskins spent the majority of their training camps, they also looked at local colleges such as George Mason University and Bowie State. In the end, it was Governor Bob McDonnell who approached the Redskins as he and Mayor Dwight Jones felt they could fit in right at Richmond.
With the Redskins still popular among many of the Southern states, especially North Carolina who still airs Redskins games regularly, it made sense to move them away from home in Ashburn, VA, while still being at home.
Bruce Allen explained that the Redskins had anticipated only having an attendance of about 100,000 total for the Training Camp, yet found that surpassed by the Fan Appreciation Day:
“We’re pleased with having the crowds. The expectations were that we’d have 100,000 for the entire training camp and we ended up well over 150,000. We’ll prepare for that better.”
The most important thing for the Redskins this training camp might have been what most couldn’t see, and that was the bonds that were being formed. In recent years, the Redskins were all individuals making up a 53 man roster, where as now it’s a family that make up the 53 man roster.
There were fights that occurred this preseason due to the competitiveness that is finally back in Washington, there were bonds formed as the players had to stay together 24 hours a day, rather than going back home for the night.
The Washington Redskins will spend their next seven seasons at the Bon Secours site in Richmond, Virginia which so far has been a huge success in just a short amount of time. The question will be if what was seen and built at Richmond with the players, will show during the football games. It will be hard to repeat a 7-0 win streak, not to mention winning the NFC East (something that hasn’t been done since the 2003/2004 Philadelphia Eagles).
Bruce Allen’s statement on Bon Secours was as followed:
“I want to go back a few years. When Mike [Shanahan] and I came to the Redskins, Dan [Snyder] asked, ‘Do you guys like going away for training camp or staying at home?’ Both Coach Shanahan and I said we’ve had a lot of success in the past with our other teams going away for training camp, as did the Washington Redskins. He said, ‘Well, whatever you guys want to do that will help the football team, go find it.’ Over the last couple of years, we’ve look at Carlisle [Pa.]. We didn’t look at Occidental College where the Redskins went in the 50s and the 60s, but we looked at Carlisle. We looked in D.C., we looked at Bowie State. We explored George Mason [University], but when Governor [Bob] McDonnell came and heard that we were interested in moving, it was really his vision along with Mayor [Dwight C.] Jones to bring us here to Richmond, and this has worked out – as you all have seen – tremendously.
Our two goals beginning with training camp was, number one, make sure that we had the right environment for the coaches to prepare the players for the upcoming season. That’s the number one objective of training camp. And, number two, we wanted to positively impact the lives of kids. And that was all our intention of this training camp, and I know we did the first one. We checked it off. We had one bad injury here at camp, but the kids part, I think we can put several checkmarks by it. And the stories that our players have shared during dinner with different kids and their conversations after practice, they’re really special, so we’re proud of that.
There’s a number of things that we were sitting around the room last night talking about that were really interesting about when you talk about the impact of our training camp. We booked 4,400 room nights. We served 15,000 meals – this is just for our team and organization. They counted 34,000 water bottles were drank, and 18,000 Gatorade bottles. It felt like when you read those things in the Super Bowl… The most important ones to us as an organization were the 200 high school coaches who we had the concussion clinic [with] over here at the Science Museum. It’s the 5,000 kids that participated in our Charitable Foundation, either Play 60 programs or cheerleading programs, that really make us proud of what we’ve done.
We’re pleased with it. We look forward to the future. We want to thank once again the Governor, the Mayor, the City Council, our great partner Bon Secours, and the program that we started with the 300 ambassadors who volunteered their time and worked 14,000 hours made this really a successful training camp for everybody in the community. And with that, I’ll answer any question you have.”
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