For the next three days, the Washington Redskins will have some company at training camp. The New England Patriots have arrived in Richmond for three joint practices, leading up to a preseason game Thursday at FedEx Field (which will broadcast on NBC4).
Redskins coach Jay Gruden, who participated in joint sessions with the Atlanta Falcons while serving as the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, sees the benefit of working against another team in a practice setting.
“I thought it was great,” he told reporters recently of his previous experience. “Initially going in I wasn’t too fired up about it, but going into it and just giving them the chance to practice against different people, I think that’s the big thing. You get tired sometimes of seeing the same people over and over again as a player is concerned. Now you’re going against somebody else and somebody else that’s trying to make a team so the competition should be fierce, I would think.
"It’s a great opportunity for some of these young guys to really show what they have against another football team that’s been very good for a long time. I think it’s a great chance for everybody to learn and get better and also a great chance for us as coaches to evaluate our guy and evaluate what we’re doing schematically.”
Gruden contacted Patriots coach Bill Belichick this spring to gauge his interest and a schedule was quickly formulated. As Gruden alluded to, the next three days will provide the younger Redskins with an opportunity to work closely with one of the NFL's consistently successful franchises.
That applies to quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will have a chance to work in close proximity to New England counterpart Tom Brady.
"To tell you I won't be looking at Tom Brady and seeing what he's doing would be a lie," Griffin told reporters. "I'll be looking at him. He won't be the focus of my attention the entire time he's here. But he's been a great quarterback in the league for a long time, so you want to soak up whatever knowledge from him.
"If I get a chance to sit down and talk to him, I'd love to, just to pick his brain," Griffin said. "But he's also still playing quarterback in the NFL. It's a competitive position, a competitive sport. So I don't expect him to give me any groundbreaking secrets."
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