Press Conference: Washington Redskins president/general manager George Allen

redskins-helmetWashington Redskins President/General Manager Bruce Allen

Opening statement:

“Good afternoon. This has been a great experience once again in Richmond. I think we ought to start with thanking some people and staff. Mayor [Dwight C.] Jones and his staff did a great job for us. Gov. [Terry] McAuliffe’s hospitality and enthusiasm was great for us. Bon Secours’ staff did fantastic job again. Our Charitable Foundation really had a great two or three weeks here… I wanted to thank Coach [Bill] Belichick and the New England Patriots for coming out. That work was invaluable for us from an evaluation standpoint. I think the way we managed the crowds was a lesson that we learned from last year. It was great for the fans and the players.

“I want to thank Coach Gruden – Jon Gruden – who came out for the high school football clinic. We had over 100 high school head coaches from Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, and I believe West Virginia as well… for being our keynote speaker. This camp has always been about preparing the team, but also about reaching back to the community. What I mentioned earlier, our Foundation, [we] feel that our 31 events that we had, we impacted over 20,000 kids in this community and we’re proud of that. Our Redskins Salute, to the military, we had over 1,000 military folks in here for camp and that was fantastic. But as far as the football is concerned, I think Jay did an excellent job – him and his staff – of building that camaraderie. We had spirited practices. There’s good competition on this football team right now and the work with the Patriots and the work that we got against ourselves hopefully is going to propel us this season. I don’t think there’s any doubt that we got better at camp. The key is to make sure we keep getting better when we get back up to Redskins Park.”

 

On what he would like to improve about holding training camp in Richmond next year:

“First of all, whoever brought the weather – now the mayor took credit and the governor took credit for the weather the last two years – the weather was fantastic. We’re going to have a meeting like we did last year, go through all the department heads, try to figure out how we can try and do it better for the team and for the fans.”

 

On if the team would consider being featured on Hard Knocks:

Hard Knocks has been something that we’ve discussed. We’ll discuss it in the future, but I think this was very good for Coach Gruden’s first year to get this team together, not to have anything but the team together.”

 

On the team’s salary cap situation:

“It is about $2 million of cap space, and that is close. Obviously we’re going to have some injuries during the year that will eat that up. We’re going to make those adjustments and look at different options after the third preseason game.”

 

On the importance of having a drama-free camp:

“Well, many of the players and many of the coaches weren’t here last year, so they’re unaware of the drama unless they read the newspapers. We just wanted to focus on getting better every day, and that’s been Coach Gruden’s motto from the beginning. When you focus on today’s events and today’s meetings and today’s practices, you sort of lose all of that drama. And the guys were all competing for jobs and I think the seriousness of their competition really overweighs everything else.”

 

On comparing atmosphere at training camp under Head Coach Jay Gruden to previous seasons:

“I don’t really like the comparisons. I think this was an excellent camp. I think adding the New England Patriots to it and Coach [Bill] Belichick’s staff really made the players focus more. We got in some great work with them. Coach Gruden’s meetings are as intense as you see it on the football field in trying to make sure that we’re trying to get better in the meeting room. I think that’s going to help our team.”

 

On the young running backs:

“There’s great competition there and obviously Alfred [Morris] leading the charge for the team. We want to make sure we keep improving on it, and the competition – when you get to the final cut, many of them really do play out in the preseason games. Once again, bringing up the Patriots, we got so many more reps on film to help evaluate these guys and give them an opportunity to shine. With the three more preseason games, it should filter itself out.”

 

On the discussions about Hard Knocks:

“We haven’t discussed either way. It’s something the league brings up, usually at the spring meetings, the different teams that they’re going to be talking to and we’ll see what the league does next year.”

 

On his thoughts on the current preseason format:

“I’m old enough that I was talking to Willie Lanier out there – we remember seven preseason games. Willie said that they played the starters for the Chiefs, they played all the way into the fourth quarter of each one of them. I think there’s a great value in the preseason games, and I say that not just on behalf of the team, I see it for the players. The same people who were talking about it at the running back position and competition, it’ll give players an opportunity to make the team in that fourth preseason game because that’s when the backups are going to get all of the plays. It fits well for us. I think having the Patriots come in just gave us added work where it wasn’t live hitting and it allowed the players to perform.”

 

On local vendors:

“We did include people inside of the gates this year, some new local vendors, and I hope they did well. I haven’t got the sales counts on the outside. It is part of the traffic flow, and I appreciate the people in here when we tried to adjust the parking and we’re going to adjust that again next year and hopefully that will work out better for you all. But also it’s the traffic flow coming into the gates where I think some of the vendors don’t get all the traffic coming in, and we’ll look at that. We want it to be great for everyone.”

 

On his role in the video replay process:

“I’ve always been up in the coaching booth. That’s where I watch games. If I see something, I’ve shouted out to the coaches who are on the headset to make sure he gets the message. It’s a fun atmosphere up there when we’re waiting for  replay and people are wanting to know if his hand touched in bounds or out of bounds. So I’ve done that before, and it’s really working with the coaches up there.”

 

On lowering preseason ticket prices:

“You know, at the last collective bargaining agreement, there was talks about the regular season and the preseason schedule and trying to find ways to make it better for the players and the fans and those talks are continuing with the league office and with the Players Association to do it. I understand that issue. The salary cap understands that issue though as well. It’s really the Players Association and league working together to find a common answer.”

 

On if he is in favor of joint practices moving forward:

“Yeah, we will talk to the different teams. It worked out well with the Patriots in that the league scheduled them for our first preseason game at home. It is something that we absolutely will look into next year.”

 

On the ticket lottery for the Patriots joint practice sessions and Fan Appreciation Day:

“That was actually one of the ideas that came out of last year’s review was a way to make the crowd more comfortable. If we didn’t do that lottery this year, the amount of people coming in for the Patriots and Fan Day would have made it uncomfortable for the fans that came. I think it worked out well for us.”

 

On if the team would consider hiring underprivileged workers in lieu of volunteer ambassadors:

“Well, we do hire a lot of people when we’re down here, Paul. The Ambassador program is a great way for young people to get their first taste of interning – no different than the people we have in the training room, the equipment room, the video room. Those are interns who are trying to get something on their résumé for their future employment, but we did hire a lot of people. We are going to look at different ways to include more people from the community. I have to thank all the parents who brought the young, young kids to practice. Those are the people that I know we affected, and hopefully they will be future employees of our team.”


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