MINNEAPOLIS — MINNEAPOLIS -- The Washington Redskins team that arrived at Super Bowl XXVI last night knows little more about the Buffalo Bills than your average fan.
They've only watched them on television.
The Redskins not only haven't played the Bills this season, but they haven't even had a peek at the coach's game plan yet.
When the Redskins had their final practice at Redskin Park yesterday before flying here where they'll train at the Minnesota Vikings' facilities, coach Joe Gibbs worked them on generic plays.
He won't give them a game plan for the Bills until tomorrow because he wants to keep a normal schedule. The team usually starts working on the upcoming foe each Wednesday. He didn't want the team to get bored practicing for the Bills too soon.
It's the same strategy Gibbs used when the Redskins blew out the Denver Broncos, 42-10, four years ago.
What the Redskins had that week in San Diego once they got the game plan was three days of intense practices. The Redskins hope to duplicate that this week.
Quarterback Mark Rypien was on the injured reserve list four years ago and only did some work on the scout team impersonating John Elway, but he remembers those practices.
"The thing you remember is that week of practice, the way we went after things. I think that whole week of practice you could kind of see ourselves elevate our level," he said.
Rypien said the defensive players gave the Redskins offense good looks in practice by playing so aggressively.
"The guys were smacking each other. You could tell the guys were ready to play. That was probably the thing that stuck in my mind the most," Rypien said.
He also said he figured quarterback Doug Williams was going to have a good game by watching him in practice.
"Doug was sharp all week in practice. He knew going in he had a lot of confidence," Rypien said.
Williams wound up being the game's MVP. Rypien wouldn't mind duplicating that.
* An inside joke in Washington is that it's always "Redskins weather."
No matter what the weather is -- cold, hot or rainy -- Gibbs always says it's Redskins weather. They always practice outside regardless of the weather.
They'll practice indoors this week, but they easily could practice outside if the weather stays the way it was yesterday when the Redskins and Bills arrived. The temperature was in the 30s with no snow and the forecast is it will stay that way all week.
It's been colder in New Orleans for some Super Bowls.
* "Indians are people. We are not mascots for America's fun and games," was the message from several Indian groups who passed out a four-page flier protesting Washington's use of the name Redskins.
The release noted that dictionaries say the word Redskin is "offensive" and said they will protest the "racist and ignorant" remarks of Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke. They quoted Cooke as saying: "I find it difficult to accept your statement that Redskins is racist. I am totally out of sympathy with your project."
The groups plan to picket the NFL Alumni Player of the Year awards dinner Saturday night and will march and rally on Super Bowl Sunday.
SUPER BOWL MATCHUP
Analysis: Green, the fastest man in the NFL, is the Redskins' cornerback who covers the opposing team's top receiver. He has the speed to cover receivers deep all over the field. Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys, who beat him on inside routes, was the only receiver all year to burn Green. The Bills may try the same tactic because even though Reed is usually a deep threat, Green can match any receiver stride for stride down the sidelines. Reed caught 8 passes in last year's Super Bowl, but only gained 62 yards when the Giants used a technique of hitting him after every catch. Green doesn't use that style, but figures to have the edge in this matchup with his speed.