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With A Short Week, Redskins Prioritize Recovery And Preparation Over Reflection

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Ryan Kerrigan almost always heads straight home after games. During the season, it’s a rare opportunity to hang out with his wife, Jessica, their infant daughter, Lincoln, and their two English Bulldogs.

But around 6 p.m. this past Sunday, a mere two-and-a-half hours after the Redskins’ home game against San Francisco, Kerrigan was back at Redskins Park. For the next 90 minutes, he submerged himself in the cold tub, stood in the cryotherapy chamber and received other treatments to try and get ahead of the impending soreness. With a game in Minnesota looming Thursday night, recovery trumped relaxation.

Almost every NFL team plays on Thursday Night Football once per season, though that does not make the process any easier, especially if that primetime showdown is on the road. Well, that’s the challenge the Redskins faced this week following a loss to the 49ers. In the days since, it’s been a balancing act between learning from a defeat while preparing for another formidable opponent.   

“You just gotta move on fast and get to [San Francisco] later, unless there’s something important that carries onto the next week,” offensive lineman Ereck Flowers said. “Sometimes we just gotta get going. Such a short week against a good team, we’re just gonna move past it and focus in and try to get this win.”

That’s exactly what the Redskins have done ahead of their Week 8 matchup. Interim head coach Bill Callahan said that Monday’s positional meetings were all geared towards the Vikings, winners of three-straight and 5-2 overall. They also used the day to go over first- and second- down run and play-action, topics linebacker Jon Bostic said are typically reserved for Wednesday during a Sunday game week.

Usually an off day, the Redskins returned to the practice fields Tuesday for a two-hour workout that emphasized cardiovascular activity more than anything. The players were in helmets and cleats and there was no contact, yet Callahan was extremely pleased with the session, which consisted primarily of third-down plays.

“It’s always great to kind of activate their central nervous systems and their bodies and get them ready for Thursday night,” Callahan said after practice Tuesday. “So this is the only day that we’ll really move on the practice field. There was good individual tempo, and I thought there was a really good team tempo.”

Take a look at photos from Redskins practice on Tuesday October 22, 2019 before they take on the Minnesota Vikings.

There were more meetings Wednesday morning, followed by a 75-minute walk-through that mostly covered specific situations (short yardage, goal line, two minute, etc.). Plus, the Redskins left about three hours later than they usually do for road trips. They used the extra time for more special teams and positional meetups.

Finally they departed for Minneapolis, arriving about 24 hours before their 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff on Thursday night.

“It’s real quick, a lot of stuff is just going to be mental, gotta play by your rules,” Bostic said. “It’s this stuff that kind of sucks. [With) Thursday games, everything kind of gets sped up. You really can’t sit down and actually do everything (in) your normal routine. But every team for one week has gotta deal with it.”

Conversely, quarterback Case Keenum did not seem particularly bothered by the short week when speaking to reporters Tuesday. There was no time to pour over the previous game’s film, which in his case was a 12-pass-attempt, 77-yard outing in a 9-0 loss to the 49ers. Instead, it was immediately onto his former team, the Vikings, and their NFL’s sixth-ranked defense. Thursday night was coming quick.

“I kind of like it because it’s simple -- put together the game plan and let’s go play,” Keenum said. “Don’t overthink it; trust what you see, trust your eyes, trust your feet and let’s go play.”

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