Jul 27, 2013; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) gestures to fans during warm up prof to afternoon practice during 2013 NFL training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Redskins football has been mediocre over the last couple of seasons (2012 aside). With Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen changing the face of the franchise, does moving back to Richmond give hope that we are officially back to Redskins football?
Washington will call their new Training Camp Facility, Bon Secours their home over the next eight years as Redskins Park receives a $30 million renovation to improve the outdated facility.
Before moving into Redskins Park in 2000, the Washington Redskins practiced at Dickinson College located in Carlisle, PA, from 1963-1994 (they would return in 2001-2002). They later moved closer to the Washington D.C area when they called Frostburg State University their new practice home in 1995-1999. Since 2002, the Washington Redskins have called Redskins Park their home until now.
As most fans know, the Washington Redskins were a respectable, hard playing football team during the times they practiced at Dickinson College, yet the closer they moved towards D.C, the worse they got. Granted not all of that has to do with the location, as coaches, player personnel and front offices changed, but it does raise some questions.
Jul 27, 2013; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (86) catches the ball as Redskins strong safety Reed Doughty (37) defends during 2013 NFL training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
When at Dickinson College, the Redskins were further away from the “big city,” unlike in Ashburn, VA; which is just minutes outside of Washington D.C. Rather than being able to party or go home after every OTA, mini-camp or training camp session, the players had to go back to their dorms.
In other words, the team had nothing else to focus on, but football, staying in shape and bonding with each other.
As the teams moved closer, they naturally had ways of getting into the city and partying it up. After all, many former Redskins players have called them a “party team,” rather than caring about football. For instance, the Redskins were known for going out after losses and living the “rock star” life, rather than being upset with themselves for losing the game as players do in other cities.
Richmond isn’t much further away from the city, in fact it’s about the same distance Frostburg State University is from the District, so does this mean change for the Redskins? Or the same old team we’ve seen in the past?
One thing for sure is, the team isn’t nearly as close, so while they can still make the drive, they aren’t as inclined to. Not to say Richmond doesn’t have its own party area, but it’s nothing like Washington D.C.
Jul 27, 2013; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins defensive back Chase Minnifield (25) catches the ball in front of Redskins linebacker Vic So
The team will now be forced to focus on football and getting to know each other, but more importantly being away from the Redskins fans and media. The problem with Redskins Park is it’s in the heart of the Washington Redskins fan base, making it a huge distraction for the players.
Being away will now allow them to be more focused and do what they need to do to get in preparation for the upcoming football seasons.
After eight years, the Redskins will most definitely come back to Redskins Park, as the team won’t be having a 30 million dollar renovation for the park to not be used, but perhaps by that time Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen will have either rules in place, or the park setup to the point where it makes it extremely hard for distractions to occur..
While Richmond gets them away from the city itself, it does not entirely get them away from the fan base. As there is a huge gathering of Redskins fans from around the Richmond area, as well as North Carolina.
There’s no denying that Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have indeed fixed a lot of problems with the Washington Redskins, from player personnel, to the way the team has been ran. Perhaps this is the final straw to help get the Redskins back to playing what fans know as, Redskins Football consistently?