RICHMOND — The fewer the headlines, the better the training camp. Camera hounds Rex Ryan and Jerry Jones excepted, that's how most NFL types view the summer drudgery, especially Mike Shanahan's Washington Redskins.
But quarterback Robert Griffin III shocked the world Wednesday after he and his Redskins teammates completed conditioning tests on the eve of the franchise's first camp in Richmond.
"I don't think the preseason actually matters that much," Griffin told reporters clamoring for the latest on his surgically repaired and invaluable right knee.
Gasp! The royal baby's naming just got bumped off the front page. Bill Belichick commenting on Aaron Hernandez? Bury it in agate type.
Can you believe Griffin's gall? The kid is only 23 for heaven's sake. He's played all of 16 professional games, 15 in the regular season, one in the playoffs.
Preseason doesn't matter?
Of course it doesn't. That's why Griffin isn't likely to play a snap during the exhibition games leading up to Washington's season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.
"Unless it's a necessity, I don't think I'll play in the preseason," Griffin said, stressing that he's passed every test administered by surgeon James Andrews and that he'll participate in all practice activities except 11-on-11.
"Standing around watching isn't very fun, and a lot of times you can feel detached from the team," Griffin said.
The requisite RGIII update offered — Shanahan waited far too long to remove him from last season's playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks — let's shift to the Redskins' Richmond move.
This marks the team's fourth camp venue in the last 50 years. The team spent 34 years in Carlisle, Pa., five in Frostburg, Md., and 11 at Redskins Park in Northern Virginia.
The shift south and the eight-year contract with Richmond were approved by Shanahan, who, like all coaches, is a control freak. And an off-site camp puts players further under management's thumb.
Defensive tackle Barry Cofield has experienced both home and away camps, traveling to Albany, N.Y., with the New York Giants and staying put at Redskins Park.
"I think it's just getting away," he said, "getting away from your comfort zone and spending more time with the guys, living in the same hotel, shuttles to-and-from practice, eating together. Those things you can build upon, and if we take advantage of those opportunities, it will be beneficial."
The hotel and shuttles could be problematic.
Unlike Carlisle and Frostburg, camp is not on a college campus with dormitories for players. The team is bunking at a hotel about a 15-minute drive away, if, and it's an XL if, traffic cooperates.
And no, there is not a daily police escort. Bank on Shanahan and owner Daniel Snyder demanding one the first time an accident or a wrong turn delays the team bus.
Moreover, the team hotel is near Shockoe Bottom and Shockoe Slip, where plenty of potential distractions/mischief beckons.
Like Cofield, linebacker London Fletcher knows the ropes of home and road camps.
"I'd always gone away to camp (with the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills)," he said. "And now being in (Washington), six years of being at home for training camp, I was kind of looking forward to this, going away.
"I think it bonds your team a lot better than staying at home practicing. … It also allows us to connect with fans who normally don't get a chance to see us."
Spectators are welcome here Thursday, and given the team's long-standing support in these parts, not to mention its 2012 NFC East title, expect a crowd, weekday work obligations notwithstanding.
"It's a little weird taking a 15-minute bus ride just to get to practice from your meeting rooms," reserve quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "But it's going to be more similar than different. I think having the fans here tomorrow will bring extra excitement. …
"Just a great situation. Weight room, training room, locker room: Everything's brand new. We're ready to go to work. Now the work just has to be done."
The work to progress from a team that lost its opening playoff game, at home, to one that contends for the Super Bowl. Work that will take place little more than an hour's drive from Hampton Roads.
“Being in a hotel room, being in close proximity with all your teammates, spending that much time together from sun-up to sundown, it gives you a chance to really grow together,” Cousins said. “And I think when it gets to third-and-11 and you’re in an away stadium, and you’re in a tight huddle together, and you look at guys in the eyes, you know they’re going to have your back.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun