Redskins Learning To Bond


Aug 5, 2013; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan stands on the field during afternoon practice as part of the 2013 NFL training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most important things for the Washington Redskins moving to Richmond, VA might not have been the fact that the team got away from Washington, D.C. and the Metropolitan area, but rather the fact that the players had no home to go to.

There’s no denying that the Washington Redskins used to be a party team, as that’s what was mentioned many times by former players who ended up leaving the team (some as soon as a couple of months).

Willie Parker happened to be one of those players, and during an interview with Pittsburgh’s 94.7 The Fan in 2011 he made the obvious a reality.

“Being in Washington, oh man, they just don’t care about football. I didn’t feel good from day one there. [In Washington] they weren’t about football; they were about partying and stuff like that. When you’ve got one person trying to come in and be straight about football, I mean, it’s never gonna work. You appreciate Pittsburgh a little bit more after going somewhere else and seeing what another team has to offer.”

Ask the fans, as many know the popular night clubs in Washington, D.C. where players like to go the following day after a team’s loss, as if nothing had happened the night before.

Aug 5, 2013; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) participates in position drills during afternoon practice as part of the 2013 NFL training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Darnell Dockett made that clear a year before Willie Parker joined the team in 2010.

“There’s a lot of things I don’t like, there’s a lot of things they do that I couldn’t accept as being a leader. You know, I’ve never seen an organization that would go out and lose on Sunday and throw a party Sunday night after a loss and party all week. Like, I couldn’t adapt to that, and I think that’s one of the reasons that I couldn’t be a part of an organization, of how they carry their organization.”

He later went on to say what many fans had felt under the Vinny Cerrato ran football team; “I think a lot of guys on that team, winning don’t mean anything. I think partying and getting paid is a big part of a lot of guys on that team.”

Sadly, all of that was entirely true. Thankfully, with the arrival of Mike Shanahan, that no longer happens to be the case as he has weeded out those types of players, as well as the players who have no business playing for any team in the NFL.

The culture Mike Shanahan has created has not only brought back a fan base that was on its final leg, but also put the team back in the spotlight of the NFL. A Redskins team that was once made a mockery of happens to now be one of the most feared teams in the NFL.

Moving to Richmond Virginia might be the next genius move under Mike Shanahan, whom has removed the team temporarily from the Metropolitan area, and focused in another city not nearly as big.

That’s not to say players can’t go out and party if they want to, as Richmond has plenty of places for that (though that’s not the type of team they are according to Robert Griffin III).  The bigger picture might be the fact that the players can’t go home, but instead have to return to their dorms at the training facility.

 “I feel like being here in Richmond – not that guys go out and party at all because we’re in the NFL and we don’t party at all – guys go out. They get to be together. Do those kind of things. Go to dinner. Being away from your families, you kind of have to bond with your teammates unless you’re a loner and just sit in your room all day. It forces you to hang out. It forces you to create those bonds and try to meet somebody new and learn a little bit about them every day,” Robert Griffin III said during Monday’s press conference.

For now it appears there’s a new team in the Nation’s Capital. The main question however is whether it will last, as the Redskins will eventually move back to Redskins Park once the renovation period is finished.