Redskins Coach Jay Gruden hasn’t seen firsthand the big crowds that often line the training camp fields in Richmond. But he says he’s looking to the experience for a couple of reasons: it creates excitement for the players and coaches and can keep away the “doldrums” of summer.
During the team’s inaugural camp at the Bon Secours facility last summer, daily crowds ranged from a few thousands to an estimated 25,000 on fan appreciation day. In all, an NFL record 165,000 fans attended, according to the Redskins.
“It just gets your blood pumping a little bit more,” Gruden said last week after touring the $10 million facility. “It makes it more exciting. Some coaches and players might want to show off a little bit more. It’s real exciting to come out here and do your job in front of people who genuinely want to see you succeed.”
He added: “It takes the doldrums out of the normal practice, the, ‘here we go again.’ Now you have a bunch of people watching and it’s more exciting.”
Training camp run July 24 through Aug. 11, with 15 days open to the public. Tom Brady and the Patriots will join the Redskins for three days of joint practices from Aug. 4-6, which is expected to boost the number of fans and media in attendance.
“I’ve heard about the great turnouts—10,000 fans on a normal day,” Gruden said. “That’s outstanding. Hopefully we’ll get more and more. It’s a very supportive group. It’s exciting to come out here and give kids a chance to watch their favorite player play and get to shake their hand and get an autograph and see what these professional athletes go through and how hard they work and how important it is to work hard.”