The NFL’s Collective Bargaining agreement calls for teams to have two training camp practices per day. One is a traditional, full practice in pads and helmets. The other is a walk through where pads and helmets are not permitted.
Last year in the first year of holding training camp in Richmond, Virginia, coach Mike Shanahan held the walkthrough at 10 in the morning and then the players returned to the field in the afternoon at 3:20 for the full practice.
Jay Gruden was hired as the new head coach in January and he took that schedule and shook it up. Things will start earlier, possibly end later, and the players will hit the ground running in the morning.
The typical day on the Richmond training camp schedule for 2014 features a full practice in the morning at 8:35, a break of about five hours, and then the walkthrough at 4:10.
Gruden said that the summertime weather in Richmond helped him decide on the schedule.
“It’s cooler in the morning and there’s less chance of rain than in the afternoon,” Gruden said on Friday after touring the Bon Secours training center. “That’s the main two reasons.”
He also likes the mental aspect of how a relatively early A. M. practice might work. “I think if you meet in the evening there’s a chance for them to sleep on it and come right out and practice and see how much they can digest mentally,” he said. “We come right out and practice, they can rehab all day, meeting, walkthough, install and the come right back out and, bang, practice again.”
Gruden is not necessarily committed to keeping the schedule as it is in future years.
“I want to see how that goes,” he said. “We practiced in the afternoon last year in Cincinnati and I think the morning practice is the way to go.”
As the offensive coordinator for the Bengals the practice schedule wasn’t his call. Now that he’s calling the shots he’s doing to do things his way and see how it works out.