Redskins coach makes first tour of training facility

With OTAs coming to a close, and training camp on the horizon, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden took time to visit the team's training facility in Richmond, VA on Friday.

It was his first time in Richmond.

"I just got off the plane, so I don't know what to think", said Gruden after being asked what he thought of the city.

Jay Gruden during a media press conference at Redskins' training facility.  Photo/CD Brown.
After viewing the facility, however, and the practice field (prepped, polished, and 'manure fresh') Gruden was pleased.

"As a head coach you want to have a first-class facility to provide players with the best chance to succeed", he said, citing the facilities weight room and other amenities.

"We have all that here. It's a great first-class facility, and we're happy to be here."

With promises of the Redskins training camp being even more exciting than last year, fans can look forward to practices being taken up a notch.

This year the team will practice with the New England Patriots, a plan General Manager Bruce Allen says will give the Redskins a chance to run different schemes and plays.  Allen hopes to take the success of last season's preseason games, a perfect 3-0, into the regular season.

[Allen and Gruden comment on the look of Super Bowl 50 (view at 20:23 mark)].

The team had a less than perfect regular season last year, winning only three of sixteen games, prompting the firing of coach Mike Shanahan and his offensive coordinator son, Kyle Shanahan, after nearly four years on the job; so with Gruden being the new 'coach on the block' fans are anxious to see if Gruden will be any better (i.e. a success).

Boosting Richmond's economy?
Richmond's mayor, Dwight Jones, says this year's economic impact on the city of Richmond will be even bigger.

"Everyone knows we had a sensational first year.  I know that this year will be even better than last year was", he said. "We've got the excitement of a new, young (Redskins) coach, and the excitement of the New England Patriots."

Gruden toured Redskin's training facility in Richmond on Friday along with Richmond
 mayor Dwight Jones (right) and Bon Secour's Peter Bernard (right of Gruden).  Photo/ CD Brown.
Added Jones, "We're expecting more people, more fun, and more opportunities."

Jones says more food vendors have signed on to accommodate the larger crowds during this year's training to include Big Herm's Kitchen, and the well known favorite in Richmond's African American community, Croaker's Spot.

Last year's revenue, as a result of the Skins' training camp, was estimated to be more than $10M for the city.  If the figures for this year substantially increase, as anticipated, the people of Richmond will be expecting the Mayor to step up and improve the city he says more people will be flocking to this summer.

About the city
The city has an enormous homeless population, and the roads in various parts of the city are in need of immediate repair.  Schools in the urban areas lack basic necessities and teacher resources are strained, prompting students to walk out of classes and descend on the mayor's office in protest. Schools in Richmond's neighboring Henrico County areas seem to flourish, however.

Wonder why.

Jones, also pastor of Richmond's First Baptist Church South Side, has also come under fire for wanting to build a new baseball stadium in the city's Shockoe Bottom area where the city's slave population was traded, and the site of the city's slave burial ground.

Citizens have rejected the idea of a baseball stadium, and no immediate plans to move forward, have been revealed.

The city is home to several universities (VCU, VUU, UR), several sports teams (Richmond Raiders indoor football, Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball team), and has somewhat of a redeeming quality with Maymount and Byrd Parks.  The Hippodrome is a great spot for live jazz and entertainment. Traffic in the city is light and everything takes fifteen minutes or less to get to (usually).

*** June 10, 2014***  Update on the Redskins name change 

Anti-Redskins ad to air during Game 3 of the NBA Finals.  The ad states that Indians are many things, but one thing they are not is Redskin.