With three weeks until training camp starts, fans will make plans to attend practices at the Washington Redskins’ Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, VA.
This is the time of year when the most hardened Redskins’ faithful will hit the road and attend several practices to show their unwavering support despite recent failed seasons.
With the excitement of a new season ahead and expectations around the beltway being developed, the 13 practices in Richmond will paint a picture of what the Redskins could become during the regular season. The practices will be met with enthusiasm by some and skepticism from others who dislike the team being in Richmond and away from the DC area.
What are the pros and cons of having a training camp in Richmond?
Pro – Bootcamp Type of Approach
The Redskins players get a chance to compete away from the comfortable confines of their own homes and families. This is the old and traditional “boot camp” approach the military uses to foster comradery and familiarity.
At times the Redskins have used camp to bond and come together. That was never more evident when in the 2015 training camp Washington welcomed the Houston Texans to Richmond for a few days of joint practices. Those spirited practices will be remembered for the feisty competition that led to a final rainy day brawl between both teams. Several Redskins players would go on to later say that those practices and the brawl showed them that they could come together and be a ‘team.’
The Redskins turned that bonding experience into an NFC East division title that season and a playoff appearance.
Pro – Richmond Gains Economy Boost
The city of Richmond gets a chance to gain some revenue from a professional team staying in town for three weeks. Fans flock to Richmond to see the practices and their favorite players up close and in person.
Redskins fans used to make up a huge part of the southeast and now those fans, albeit a little older, can see the team they cheered for as a child and before teams like the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons and lesser extent, Jacksonville Jaguars expanded into the NFL and south.
Pro – The Food Is Delicious
Ok, well maybe this a personal preference of mine as the food in Richmond is unbelievable.
This has always been the highlight of my stay over the years and really brings a sense of the down-home southern hospitality to the forefront. Restaurants such as Mama J’s and Croaker’s Spot have been entrenched as favorites of the players and media who stay for the nearly three-week time frame.
Just speaking about this makes me excited and takes away from the upcoming cons.
Con – Camp in Richmond
Sorry to the good folks of Richmond who make everyone from the players to the media feel extremely welcomed, but the location really makes no sense for the local DC media who traditionally make up 90 percent or more of the everyday coverage of the team.
The travel may not seem that robust considering Richmond is around two hours away from DC, but when factoring in the treacherous traffic conditions on I-95 the two-hour trip normally expands to three or more depending on the time of day.
A lot of fans from the DC and Maryland areas have complained about the travel to see their favorite team.
Con – Treacherous Summer Weather
This could easily be the most important problem with having a training camp in Richmond. Summers in the mid-Atlantic portions of the east coast can be downright hot and humid — not to mention wet.
All of those elements are on display nearly every day of camp. The heat and humidity have taken its’ toll on players and fans who at times have needed medical assistance for heat-related symptoms.
Over the years the Redskins have changed practice times to combat the brutal summer conditions of Virginia’s capital city.
The other element that effects practices are the rainstorms that always make a habit of staying around during east coast summers. The hot air makes way for thunderstorms that have taken a toll on the playing surface at Bon Secours almost immediately days into camp practices.
Con – Lack of an Indoor Facility
It can’t be said enough, but the Redskins main headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia back in the DC area has an indoor practice facility to go along with three outdoor fields. Some would like to see the team move back to its headquarters for training camp which would combat the weather conditions of the regions summers.
As mentioned, the rain has become a normal and sometimes daily occurrence in Richmond. A lack of an indoor practice facility has shortened practices in the past or altered them to an extent.
An indoor facility would ensure that practices happen without a glitch.
Regardless of the pros and cons, the Redskins will have a tough decision to make in the next few years regarding their summer stay in Richmond. Crowds have become increasingly smaller which could be a sign of fans not liking the travel to Richmond or the team not winning games in the fall which seemingly take a toll on attendance sales the following summer in Richmond.
It will be interesting to see how the Redskins handle the situation going forward.
The 2019 Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center fan schedule is as follows.
Thursday, July 25 – 9:45 a.m. Practice and 4:40 p.m. Walkthrough
Friday, July 26 – 9:45 a.m. Practice and 4:40 p.m. Walkthrough
Saturday, July 27 – 9:45 a.m. Practice and 4:40 p.m. Walkthrough
Sunday, July 28 – 9:45 a.m. Practice and 4:40 p.m. Walkthrough
Tuesday, July 30 – 9:45 a.m. Practice and 4:40 p.m. Walkthrough
Wednesday, July 31 – 9:45 a.m. Practice and 4:40 p.m. Walkthrough
Thursday, August 1 – 9:45 a.m. Practice and 4:40 p.m. Walkthrough
Saturday, August 3 – 1:00 p.m. Practice (Fan Appreciation Day)
Sunday, August 4 – 9:45 a.m. Practice and 4:40 p.m. Walkthrough
Monday, August 5 – 9:45 a.m. Practice and 4:40 p.m. Walkthrough
Tuesday, August 6 – 1:35 p.m. Practice
Saturday, August 10 – 1:35 p.m. Practice
Sunday, August 11 – 9:45 a.m. Practice