Tempo: it’s something that’s been mentioned a lot at the minicamps and OTAs under the new Redskins coaching staff, but I’ve had a hard time finding something specific to point at as a concrete indicator of the new tempo. The best I’ve come up with is the drill that starts off every defensive practice: the eleven guys on the defense take the field in their positions, get set, and then sprint to a corner of the endzone. Then the next eleven guys line up and do the same thing, and so on until everyone’s done it.
And I do mean sprint. This is, I think, the fastest I’ve seen players run during practice in the time I’ve been watching. It’s certainly the fastest when there was no one-on-one competition involved.
So yesterday I asked Carlos Rogers if he could explain the thinking behind the drill, and what it says about the philosophies of the new coaching staff.
What is the drill, exactly?
“It’s a simple drill,” he said. “We’re all running to the ball. Because you never know — get a pass thrown deep, guy breaks a tackle, running back gets through the line … everybody’s gotta run to the ball. You never know.
“Prime example: the Saints game last year. We got a pick, they end up stripping the ball because the receivers were just running to the ball to strip it. Plays like that, you don’t have time to think about it but it’s a way to make the play.
“It’s just a drill on what to do. It’s something you’ve gotta do. It should be natural, just running to the ball, and at times like that if one group messes up, everybody goes bad. So we’re just pushing everybody to run.”
It seems like everyone’s running harder during this drill than at any other time I can remember. Why is that?
“Different mentality,” Rogers explained. “We ran hard years ago when I first got here with Gregg [Williams], but after that it’s just been kinda goin’ through the motions a little bit. But now it’s like full-throttle every time.
“And I like it. I’m used to whatever. I’ve had different coaches, different schemes. I’ve had the best, and I’ve had guys that were less demanding than others … I’m down for whatever, but I like this.”
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